MPs will have spent just five working days in the House of Commons between 21 July and 17 October

MPs are thought to be considering shortening the next recess period so parliament can return earlier than scheduled

The House of Commons has been in session for just five days since summer recess began and MPs are not set to return until 18 October.

Between 21 July, the start of summer recess, and the end of the next recess period on 17 October, parliament will have been in session for just five of an available 61 working days.

This is despite a deepening cost of living crisis which is set to force millions into fuel poverty in the coming months, and major developments in the Russia-Ukraine conflict.

MPs attended House of Commons for just one week since late July

Summer recess lasted from 22 July until 4 September, covering a total of 30 potential working days.

The last break in the parliamentary schedule before the summer recess was in late May, for Whitsun, which lasted a week.

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MPs returned last Monday (5 September) on the day that Liz Truss was confirmed as the winner of the Conservative leadership election and therefore the new prime minister.

Parliament then sat as normal until Thursday, which saw Truss announce her plan to freeze energy prices for the next six months.

Following the announcement of the Queen’s death on Thursday evening, MPs and members of the Lords attended parliament the following day to swear the oath of allegiance to the King and to pay tribute to the Queen.

These tributes continued on Saturday, after which point parliament was then adjourned for 10 working days as part of the national period of mourning.

During this period, no new laws will be passed, motions and questions cannot be tabled and no official announcements will be made.

Ministers and officials will continue to work during this adjourned period.

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The end of this 10-day adjournment coincides with the start of the next scheduled parliamentary recess, starting 23 September, for party conference season.

The Liberal Democrats have cancelled their annual party conference, which was due to start on 17 September, as it clashed with the Queen’s funeral on Monday (19 September).

The other main parties have all confirmed that their conferences will go ahead, as they come after the end of the national mourning period.

Next recess could be shortened to make up for lost time

There have been reports that the next recess period could end earlier than scheduled to make up for time lost in the national period of mourning.

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The i reports that talks are ongoing about the possibility of an early return to parliament, with a Commons source confirming that the programme for legislation is being worked on.

They added that no decision has been made yet.

The i also reports that Labour sources say talks about an earlier return are ongoing, which could see parliament return on 11 October - a week early.

That date would allow Labour, the Conservatives and SNP to hold their party conferences without having to worry about sending MPs to attend Commons debates and votes.

During the summer recess, as the cost of living crisis continued to escalate, Labour wrote to Boris Johnson and the then-Conservative leadership hopefuls requesting that MPs return to parliament two weeks early, on 22 August.

In a letter to Johnson, Truss and Rishi Sunak, Shadow leader of the House Thangam Debbonaire, said: "Across Britain, people are having to make unthinkable choices about how to pay their bills, causing endless worry for households and businesses.

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"That is why I am writing to you to urge you to bring parliament back early on Monday 22 August so that we can freeze the energy price cap now ahead of winter.”