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Bercow: Three week conference break is a 'palaver'

From BBC - October 13, 2017

Party conferences staged by the Tories, Labour and the Lib Dems should take place over the course of a weekend, Commons Speaker John Bercow has said.

He called it "extraordinary" that MPs leave Westminster for the "palaver" of conference season each autumn.

Mr Bercow also raised the prospect of cancelling the summer recess if extra time was needed for lawmaking.

Conference recess allows the Tories, Labour and Lib Dems to hold four-day gatherings every autumn.

MPs returned to Westminster on Monday.

Mr Bercow's comments, first reported by Politico, came during a question and answer session at the Hansard Society.

There is a "certain incongruity about members disappearing for three weeks a year from their primary workplace in order to attend the conferences of voluntary organisations", he said.

The Speaker said party conferences "could perfectly well take place over a weekend".

"The idea that we are justified in taking weeks off, just after we have come back from the summer recess, so we can go through this palaver, strikes me as extraordinary," he added.

Mr Bercow argued that for almost three months - virtually a quarter of the year from mid-July to mid-October - the Commons only sits for two weeks.

Party conferences take place in venues around the country outside London.

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