A NEAR-six-week summer recess is planned for the House of Commons despite the looming Brexit deadline.

Commons Leader Mel Stride said the chamber is expected to rise for the summer once business is completed on July 25 and return on September 3.

It opens up the prospect of Theresa May's successor facing a confidence motion before the summer, with Labour pushing for clarity on when the new prime minister will appear before MPs.

A further recess could be scheduled in September, as is the norm, for the party conferences, which would further reduce the sitting time of the Commons before the current October 31 Brexit deadline.

Mr Stride, after announcing the business for next week, said: "Colleagues will also wish to know that subject to the progress of business the House will rise for the summer recess at the close of business on Thursday July 25 and return on Tuesday September 3."

Shadow Commons leader Valerie Vaz replied: "That is clearly very helpful for all honourable members."

She added: "I'm pleased we now have a recess date but could the Leader of the House confirm who will be at the despatch box on Wednesday July 24?

"I understand on July 22 all the (Tory leadership) results will be out, perhaps he could let us know... I think it's only fair to the outgoing Prime Minister that she knows when it's her last Prime Minister's Questions, and to us as well and to Parliament more importantly."

Ms Vaz also welcomed the September sitting before the party conferences.

Mr Stride gave a light-hearted response in which he mocked regular attendees of business questions, telling MPs: "Having just announced the summer recess dates an idea has occurred to me - we meet as a merry band on Thursdays, we are like a tightly-knit club and I just wonder if perhaps this recess we might keep the camaraderie going and all go off on holiday together.

"I would be happy to hire a bus or a charabanc and as the new Leader, who as you know has brought such a powerful sense of direction and renewed purpose to this House, I'd be happy to drive it.

"And nothing would give me more pleasure than for my new found friend, the shadow leader, to join me.

"She would be serenaded of course by the ever cheerful (SNP Commons leader Pete Wishart) on the pipes, or maybe the banjo, accompanied by (Tory MP John Hayes) showing his musical prowess on the spoons while spouting Wordsworth, Keats and John Clare and regaling us with cheery tales of those halcyon Victorian times when small boys cheerfully shinned up chimney and widespread malnutrition and rickets were a mere footnote to a far happier age.

"And as the sun slips below the horizon, we will hear the extraordinary tales of (Labour MP Ian Mearns) explaining how he quietly took over the entire business of government with his Backbench Business Committee, or perhaps we'll stick to our original plans."