Latest Issue

No, MPs didn’t work a three hour workday—and pretending otherwise is bad for democracy

We've all seen photos of a near-empty chamber used to imply MPs aren't doing their jobs properly. But that's not only unfair on our politicians—it gives the public the wrong idea about how democracy works

By Tara Jane O'Reilly  

The number of MPs actually in the Commons chamber isn't a straightforward indicator of what work they're doing. Photo: Prospect composite

Theresa May is still putting off the Queens Speech, the last division was over a month ago, and cross-party Brexit talks are still inclusive: it’d be easy to presume Parliament isn’t achieving much.

This week, one journalist tweeted “Just the three and a half hour day for MPs today” with a photo of a near-empty chamber as business in the House wrapped up on Monday, with another adding “The basic salary for…

Register today to continue reading

You’ve hit your limit of three articles in the last 30 days. To get seven more, simply enter your email address below.

You’ll also receive our free e-book Prospect’s Top Thinkers 2020 and our newsletter with the best new writing on politics, economics, literature and the arts.

Prospect may process your personal information for our legitimate business purposes, to provide you with newsletters, subscription offers and other relevant information.

Click here to learn more about these purposes and how we use your data. You will be able to opt-out of further contact on the next page and in all our communications.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

We want to hear what you think about this article. Submit a letter to

More From Prospect