Holiday? MPs keep busy during parliamentary recess

Parliament may not be sitting at the moment, but MPs would like you to know that they are not on holiday.

Perish the thought. A BBC colleague's suggestion along those lines produced something of a storm on twitter this week. The Wales Office minister David Jones tweeted indignantly: "I'm not on holiday, and won't be having one until September." Mr Jones wondered whether broadcasters stop working when they come off air.

He offers further details of his schedule during the Commons recess: "Tomorrow, as part of my holiday, I'll be driving 4hrs to Cardiff, meeting WAG minister, and driving 4hrs back."

Was his journey strictly necessary? It doesn't sound the ideal way to travel for a minister in an administration led by someone who's pledged to lead "the greenest government ever".

The Tory MP Therese Coffey wondered: "Why not meet by phone or video?". Video was not possible as other people were attending and Mr Jones then had another meeting. Indeed, he had two meetings lasting a total of 90 minutes, and a further hour and a half on Wales Office business.

The Clwyd West MP was not the only one offended by the apparent suggestion that parliamentarians would be spending this week "chillaxing". Several interrupted their busy schedules to post on conservativehome via twitter about the "myth" that they are on holiday.

The parliamentary rush to twitter has not won universal approval. The historian Andrew Roberts has used this week's Spectator to share his view that the website "is fast destroying whatever respect or admiration one might once have felt for politicians, by revealing the sheer bathos of so many of their lives".

He is not a fan of politicians who "share details of their travel schedules that would be boring even if one were their spouse". Roberts highlights contributions from David Jones, including "On platform waiting for Euston train" and "Cardiff train just pulled in. Amazing number of stops on the route".

The boredom factor of those tweets is surely eclipsed by "iPad battery level down to 4%. Thank heaven I've got as far as Rhyl". Fortunately, the magazine went to press before Roberts had a chance to deliver his verdict on a more recent David Jones tweet - "Many woodlice in garden today, probably because of the weather. I like them; they look like miniature armadillos".

Whatever you think of those tweets, for the journalist - if not the historian - they are certainly good for trade - even if one or two of them suggest a man deserving of a good holiday.