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Furious MPs face losing thousands of pounds after ministers axe their holidays

‘I’m more scared of my wife than the chief whip’ Furious MPs demand REFUNDS for half-term holidays and ski trips after their February break is cancelled in order to deal with Brexit

  • Theresa May scrambling to wring more concessions out of the EU on Brexit deal 
  • Commons Leader Andrea Leadsom said half-term break ditched amid the crisis 
  • Remainers held off quitting to back bid to rule out no deal departure this week 
  • Greg Clark hints that they will make a stand if there is no progress by February 14
  • Jeremy Hunt has admitted Brexit might need to be delayed even if deal is passed 

Furious MPs face losing thousands of pounds after ministers cancelled their holidays to deal with the Brexit crisis.

The Commons recess schedule for next month has been formally ditched today to allow more time to break the political deadlock.

There are just 57 days until Brexit with vast numbers of new laws still needed – where or not there is a deal. The February recess would have meant skipping at least four days when the Commons would otherwise be working.

But the move has caused misery for many politicians who usually take the break to go skiing or soak up some winter sun. 

One MP even claimed to be ‘more scared of his wife than Julian Smith’, the Tory chief whip. 

The Commons expenses watchdog has also deepened their woes by flatly refusing to cover the costs of holiday cancellations.

A spokeswoman for the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority (Ipsa) confirmed that, although they pay expenses if the Commons is recalled to deal with a crisis, they would not reimburse MPs for recess being cancelled ‘in advance’. 

The Commons recess schedule for next month has been formally ditched today to allow more time to break the political deadlock 

Commons Leader Andrea Leadsom declared that the half-term break next month was being abandoned to make 'progress' on passing key laws

Commons Leader Andrea Leadsom declared that the half-term break next month was being abandoned to make ‘progress’ on passing key laws

It is understood the watchdog has already received a ‘few requests’ from MPs about whether they could get their costs covered. 

Commons Leader Andrea Leadsom declared that the half-term break next month was being abandoned to make ‘progress’ on passing key laws. 

She apologised to MPs for keeping them away from constituency work.

But SNP MP Pete Wishart joked that the announcement had gone down like a ‘bucket of sick’ as many had already booked skiing trips.

Jeremy Hunt warns EU Brexit could be delayed

Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt has become the latest minister to admit publicly that Brexit might need to be delayed even if Mrs May's deal is passed

Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt has become the latest minister to admit publicly that Brexit might need to be delayed even if Mrs May’s deal is passed

Jeremy Hunt warned Brexit could have to be delayed today as MPs’ February holiday was cancelled to try and tackle the legislative backlog caused by deadlock. 

The Foreign Secretary became the most senior minister to publicly admit the UK’s departure date might have to be delayed even if Mrs May somehow manages to win approval for a deal. 

Mr Hunt told Radio 4’s Today programme: ‘I think it is true that if we ended up approving a deal in the days before 29 March then we might need some extra time to pass critical legislation, but if we are able to make progress sooner then that might not be necessary.

‘We can’t know at this stage exactly which of those scenarios would happen.’

Labour MP Ian Murray, a supporter of the pro-EU Best for Britain campaign, said: ‘The cancelling of February recess is the right thing to do but it must be done for a purpose. 

‘There’s supposedly masses of legislation needed before the end of March, but it seems the government isn’t even trying to do the important stuff in that week. It looks like a slimy PR move.’ 

Ahead of the announcement one MP told the Mail on Sunday’s Harry Cole the prospect of cancelling their skiing holiday left them ‘more scared of my wife than Julian Smith’. 

The week could be used to start legislating for a deal if Mrs May gets her wish and one is approved by MPs on February 13.

It could also be used by MPs seeking to stop no deal if Remain backers seize control of the agenda in the absence of a deal on Valentine’s Day. 

Even if there is no high profile votes in the Commons, keeping Parliament open for an extra week allows ministers to keep shovelling through hundreds of pieces of secondary legislation for Brexit which stalls while MPs are out of Wesminster.  

The news came as Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt publicly admitted that the UK’s departure date might have to be delayed even if Mrs May somehow manages to win approval for a deal. 

Mr Hunt told Radio 4’s Today programme: ‘I think it is true that if we ended up approving a deal in the days before 29 March then we might need some extra time to pass critical legislation, but if we are able to make progress sooner then that might not be necessary.

‘We can’t know at this stage exactly which of those scenarios would happen.’

 

MPs complained the failure of the Government to successfully plan their Brexit business meant they were left cancelling 

MPs complained the failure of the Government to successfully plan their Brexit business meant they were left cancelling 

Theresa May (pictured in Downing Street yesterday) is scrambling to find a way through the Brexit deadlock 

Theresa May (pictured in Downing Street yesterday) is scrambling to find a way through the Brexit deadlock 

Meanwhile, Business Secretary Greg Clark heaped pressure on Mrs May by hinting at a Remainer exodus from the Cabinet if she does not rule out a no-deal Brexit within the next fortnight.

Several senior figures including Mr Clark, Amber Rudd and David Gauke have been pushing for no deal to be taken off the table. 

They held off quitting to support a rebel amendment this week, which would have paved the way for a Brexit delay, after being assured there would be another chance to change course.

But asked if he would join a revolt if there has been no progress by the next votes, due on February 14, Mr Clark told ITV’s Peston show: ‘I’ve always been very clear.. that to leave in a disorderly way on 29 March would be very bad for everyone in the economy.

‘And I will do everything I can to make sure that doesn’t happen.

‘That’s the purpose of having a position of influence in government, to be able to do that.’    

‘Show us the money!’ Labour MPs in Leave-backing areas hail May’s bid to win support for her Brexit deal by handing them millions of pounds in extra funding 

Theresa May is preparing to pump millions of pounds into the constituencies of Labour MPs as she scrambles to win support for her Brexit deal.

The cash for deprived Leave-backing areas is designed to entice wavering Opposition politicians to get on board with the PM’s plan.

Fresh commitments to protect workers’ rights are also being mooted as the clock runs down towards the UK’s departure date. 

The ‘pork barrel’ tactic is effectively an admission that Mrs May cannot get a package through Parliament with just Tory and DUP votes. 

The move was hailed by Labour MPs, with John Mann urging the PM: ‘Show us the money. A fund of sufficient size to transform our communities. 

Melanie Onn

Gloria de Piero

The PM could target extra cash at the Leave-backing constituencies of Melanie Onn (left) and Gloria de Piero (right), who were among the shadow ministers who abstained in a vote on delaying Brexit this week

Shadow minister Mike Kane, MP for Wythenshawe and Sale East, was also absent for the crucial vote in the Commons this week 

John Mann

Shadow minister Mike Kane, MP for Wythenshawe and Sale East, was also absent for the crucial vote in the Commons this week. John Mann (right) welcomed the prospect of money for Leave-backing constituencies 

‘Our areas voted leave and it is time that we had the investment we need.’ 

Labour’s Stephen Hepburn also made clear he would be bidding for cash for Jarrow. 

‘More funding is needed to deal with the maintenance of roads in this area,’ he tweeted.  

The wrangling comes amid increasingly frantic efforts to forge a cross-party consensus.

There is speculation that Jeremy Corbyn could be softening his position, after years of demanding a full customs union and the ‘exact same benefits’ as current membership terms. He pointedly refused to sack shadow ministers who defied orders and helped the government during crunch Commons votes on Tuesday. 

Labour MP Lisa Nandy, whose Wigan constituency voted 64 per cent to Leave in 2016, insisted her party now had to ‘make real choices’ and ‘respect the result of the referendum’.  

 

 



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