Both Houses rose yesterday for the summer recess. The Lords finished its main business shortly before two o’clock and then adjourned until 6.50 p.m. when the Lord Speaker announced Royal Assent to two measures (the Housing and Regeneration Act and the Crossrail Act). There were eighteen peers in the chamber to hear the announcement. The House then adjourned until 6 October.
Although both Houses have risen, this does not mean that the Palace of Westminster closes down for the summer. There are almost 10,000 people who work on the parliamentary estate – not so much a Westminster ‘village’ as a small town – and there are about one-million visitors each year. This takes its toll on the building and the summer is used for refurbishment and replenishment. Parts of the Palace resemble a building site. At the same time, members’ offices usually continue to be staffed. Though many refreshment outlets close for the recess, some continue to function. These have tended to be primarily on the Commons’ side, but this summer the River restaurant in the Lords will be open from breakfast through to lunchtime. This is useful for those of us who variously make use of our offices during the summer. Although members make take vacations, letter-writers do not and there will be a continuing flow of correspondence.
The recess provides an opportunity for me to try and catch up on some serious academic writing. It will also be an opportunity to respond to suggestions as to what you would like to see on the blog. Just as letter writers continue to send us their thoughts, I will continue posting on the blog. Please do keep sending your comments and queries about the House and what you would like to see covered.