Norfolk MP defends holiday cruise during suspension of Parliament
PUBLISHED: 17:12 26 September 2019 | UPDATED: 08:54 27 September 2019
A Norfolk MP has hit back at criticism of his holiday to Canada and Alaska - which coincided with the suspension of Parliament.
Broadland Conservative MP Keith Simpson headed off on his holiday shortly after Parliament was prorogued at the end of Monday, September 9.
But the Supreme Court's judgment that prime minister Boris Johnson acted unlawfully in advising the Queen to suspend Parliament meant MPs returned to the House of Commons this week.
However, Mr Simpson, who recently announced he will not seek re-election after more than 20 years as a Norfolk MP, is not due back in England until Saturday, October 5.
When he announced on Twitter that he was cruising off the coast of Alaska, it sparked criticism.
Mr Simpson said the holiday had been organised more than a year ago to celebrate a milestone.
He said: "This holiday was planned a year ago to celebrate my 70th birthday.
"We travelled on the Canadian Rocky Express, which my father did in 1943 when serving with the RAF.
"I informed the whips of my travel arrangements in June - since then I have had no request to come back.
You may also want to watch:
"Ironically if I had been asked to come home logistically I wouldn't have made it until this weekend.
"This holiday is not a cheap package and I spent the whole of August in the constituency doing Parliamentary business.
"I am afraid MPs are never able to have a break like this."
But people on Twitter were critical of his trip.
Steve Brown, from Norfolk, said: "So you have six weeks off in the summer, then book a holiday during the conference season which you obviously had no intention of attending.
"Thank god you are standing down."
And Brexit Party supporter Don Pearson, from Norwich, posted: "Good job you are jumping before you are pushed."
Mr Simpson has served as MP for Broadland since the 2010 general election, having previously been MP for Mid Norfolk from 1997 to 2010.
He had a majority of 15,816 at the 2017 general election.
Last month, he voted against the government for the first time in his career, saying that he did not trust Mr Johnson.