A Busman's Holiday for MPs
By Andrew Hawkins, Chairman

As any parent of school-age children will recognise, the end of term sometimes cannot come quickly enough. Theresa May clearly felt the same last week, given the Government’s abortive attempt to hasten the start of the summer recess. This has been a term that will long be remembered for its unusually bitter in-fighting and rancorous debate. None of the major parties, it seems, has escaped deep internal conflict or accusations of bad faith.

ComRes has for many years asked MPs what they intend to read over the summer break. Given the animosity of the past months, it came as a surprise that the top choice of MPs’ summer reading in 2018 is Tim Shipman’s book Fall Out: a year of political mayhem. A book which the New Statesman described as exposing ‘the nastiness behind the scenes of a Tory Tragedy’ seems hardly a short cut to a tranquil switch-off on the beach. Stranger still, it’s the top choice for Conservatives.

Labour’s top choice, and second overall, is Antony Beevor’s Arnhem, a mighty tome looking at the Allied attempt to capture bridges across the Rhine (and, as with the top choice overall, is a story of failure).

Third is The Secret Barrister, subtitled ‘Stories of the Law and How It’s Broken’.

This year we also asked MPs for their favourite holiday destinations, splitting the world into three – UK, Europe and the Rest.

In the UK, the Celtic Fringe tops the list, with Cornwall, Scotland and Wales respectively in top, second and third place among MPs overall.

Perhaps in nostalgic tribute to David Cameron’s wetsuit, Cornwall is the favourite UK destination for Conservatives. Second overall, but first among SNP MPs, is Scotland, while Wales is third overall but the top choice for Labour MPs.

Given the number of Tuscan villas owned by the political class it may come as little surprise that Italy is the favourite place to holiday in Europe overall, and top among both Labour and Conservative MPs. France was second (but top among SNP MPs), and Spain third.

Looking further afield, despite the fact that some MPs joined street protests objecting to its President visiting these shores, the top global destination for MPs overall – including both Conservatives and Labour MPs - is the USA. SNP MPs again broke ranks with their colleagues in placing the Far East top (it was second for MPs overall), and Africa was third overall.

Wherever they are going on holiday and whatever their choice of reading, we at ComRes are grateful to both MPs and Peers, of all political colours, for their hard work these past months, and we wish them all a very happy and restful summer break.

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