Failure to keep a promise

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The ski slopes of Europe will be strangely bereft of British politicians this month, as MPs have had their February half-term holiday cancelled to enable Parliament to complete as much of the pre-Brexit business as they can before “D-Day”, March 29.

But given the way MPs have handled, or rather mishandled, this crisis so far, cynics are tempted to suggest the holiday should go ahead - giving mischief-making MPs fewer opportunities to make a bad situation that much worse.

Equally, the Government desperately needs enough time to complete all the legislation required to enable Brexit to happen at all.

A substantial number of MPs seem to have forgotten their promise that they would abide by the result of the Brexit referendum, whatever the outcome. This is more than simply the forgetting of a casually-made undertaking: It is a failure to keep a solemn promise. So don’t expect any improvement in the disgraceful behaviour of a number of MPs who would probably be doing far less damage on those Alpine ski slopes.

- There seems to be something seriously amiss with Parliamentary rules, that allow an MP serving a prison sentence to continue receiving her parliamentary salary while behind bars.

But that is precisely what is happening in the case of MP Fiona Onasanya, who is serving a sentence for lying to the police and perverting the course of justice yet is still able to continue receiving her pay, which is ludicrous. Onasanya is free to return to Parliament once she has completed her sentence. If she had been sentenced to a year or more, she would have been automatically expelled from Parliament. She has already been expelled from the Labour Party, and the only way she can be excluded from Parliament is by a system involving aggrieved constituents.

That would create a by-election in one of the traditionally most marginal seats in the country, Peterborough.

But so long as the feeble Parliamentary rules allow her to receive her salary when she so obviously cannot perform her parliamentary duties, there is no incentive for Onasanya to resign.