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24 September 2019

When does parliament return from prorogation?

Opposition MPs are clear they will not approve any recess for the Conservative Party Conference.

By Patrick Maguire

When the Supreme Court ruled that Boris Johnson’s decision to advise the Queen to prorogue parliament was unlawful, it lifted the suspension at a stroke. Technically speaking, the commons is still in session. 

As such, talk of recalling parliament isn’t quite accurate, as John Bercow, the Speaker, stressed earlier today. Legally speaking, the prorogation never happened, and the session of Monday 9 September was never adjourned.

Instead, it will resume at 11.30am tomorrow. The customary Wednesday session of Prime Minister’s Questions will not happen, however, although Bercow has pledged to grant opposition parties as many urgent questions to ministers as they like. 

A number of MPs have already returned to Westminster – or, indeed, were already working from there anyway. Normal business will resume abruptly. Conservative MPs are under a three-line whip to attend on Wednesday and Thursday, in anticipation of votes.

One question remains: what about next week’s Conservative Party Conference? In theory, MPs could vote to adjourn for a truncated conference recess, as is usually the case. But Labour and the Lib Dems are clear that they will not licence another break in the parliamentary calendar, and will oppose any government recess motion. The commons, it seems, is back for the long haul.

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