MPs knock off work four hours EARLY as they run out of things to talk about despite deepening Brexit crisis
- House of Commons rose at 3.27pm rather than the usual time of around 7.30pm
- The early finish came despite the deepening political crisis over Brexit talks
- Ministers have only put skeleton business programme amid deep uncertainty
MPs knocked off work four hours early tpday after they ran out of things to talk about – despite the deepening Brexit crisis.
The House of Commons ended its business at 3.27pm – compared to the usual rising time of 7.30pm.
The short day came after ministers announced a skeleton programme with uncertainty surround the plans for Brexit legislation.
Proceedings began at 11.30am with Cabinet Office questions followed by Prime Minister’s Questions.
The House of Commons was sparsely attended and finished its business at 3.27pm – compared to the usual rising time of 7.30pm
Ten minutes were then used up by the introduction of a backbench bill, before a debate on two social security motions.
The adjournment debate focused on prostate cancer and started at 2.37pm rather than 7pm, as would normally be the case.
Labour’s Diana Johnson said the situation was “bang out of order”.
“Considering Brexit is just 51 days away this is totally irresponsible!” she wrote on Twitter.
SNP chief whip Patrick Gray said: “Seemingly the Tory Government thinks there’s nothing worth debating or discussing.”
Elsewhere in Parliament, MPs were involved in afternoon debates in Westminster Hall – their second debating chamber,
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Proceedings in the House of Lords chamber began at 3pm and were due to run until 9pm.
The Government last week announced it was cancelling the February recess for MPs, and legislation connected to Brexit still has to be approved.
Meanwhile, Mrs May has been continuing her frantic bid to get changes to her deal.
Donald Tusk poured petrol on the Brexit negotiations today as he raged that there is a ‘special place in hell’ for those who fought to get the UK out of the EU.
As the deadlock with Brussels deepened dramatically, the European council chief lashed out at Leave campaigners who had no idea how to sever ties ‘safely’.
Rubbing salt into the wound, Mr Tusk was then caught on mic chuckling at a press conference when Irish premier Leo Varadkar whispered to him that the British would ‘give you terrible trouble’ over the jibe.
Theresa May (pictured arriving at Stormont House today) has been meeting all five of the major Northern Ireland political parties as she scrambles to find a way through the Brexit deadlock
The Commons clock showed 3.27pm as MPs wound up their business this evening hours early
Incandescent Brexiteers hit back at the ‘inflammatory’ intervention within moments as the negotiations threatened to go into a tailspin.
Commons Leader Andrea Leadsom, who backed Brexit in the referendum, branded Mr Tusk ‘spiteful’ and demanded he apologise. Home Secretary Sajid Javid said he was ‘out of order’.
The remarks were raised in the House by Tory MP Peter Bone, who branded them an ‘insult’ to the British people. DUP MP Sammy Wilson said Mr Tusk and his ‘arrogant EU negotiators’ had ‘fanned the flames of fear in an attempt to try to overturn the result of the referendum’, while Nigel Farage said being free to ‘run our own country’ sounded ‘more like heaven’.
The PM’s spokesman also swiped at Mr Tusk, saying: ‘I think it’s a question for Donald Tusk as to why he considers the use of that language to be helpful.
‘I appreciate that was difficult this morning as he did not take any questions.’
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