The House of Commons rose more than four hours early on Wednesday, despite Brexit only being 51 days away and a raft of legislation requiring approval before then.
The Commons began sitting at 11.30am, but finished at 3.27pm as business announced by the government was thin on the ground.
Usually, the Commons runs until 7.30pm on Wednesdays.
Downing Street insisted there was “a lot of work going on”, but opposition MPs said it was an embarrassing state of affairs amid the current Brexit turmoil.
Labour’s Diana Johnson described the development as “bang out of order”, adding: “Considering Brexit is just 51 days away this is totally irresponsible!”
Patrick Gray, the SNP chief whip, said: “Seemingly the Tory government thinks there’s nothing worth debating or discussing.”
Virendra Sharma, a Labour MP and supporter of the Best for Britain campaign for a second EU referendum, said: “This is not on.
“Parliament still has tons of legislation to get through before the end of March, including thousands of pages of statutory instruments.
“Brexit is the most important legislative and political process since the Second World War.
“It makes no sense to go home and avoid working on ensuring the country’s future when there’s so little time left.”
Lib Dem MP Christine Jardine, another Best for Britain backer, also criticised the early finish.
“Brexit is looking like a colossal disaster and Parliament is finishing for the day when most people are only coming back from lunch,” she said.
“The country’s future is at stake, and it’s about time the national interest took priority.”
Commons business began with Cabinet Office questions, followed by PMQs. A backbench bill was then introduced, followed by a debate on two social security motions.
The adjournment debate on prostate cancer then began at 2.37pm, rather than 7pm as is usually the case.
Proceedings in the Lords began at 3pm and were expected to run until 9pm, while MPs took part in afternoon debates in Westminster Hall.
When asked about the early finish, Theresa May’s official spokesman told a regular briefing of journalists: “The business of the House is set out in advance, there have been days recently where they have been working beyond midnight dealing with statements and with debates on Brexit.
“I think this week they have been dealing with some important domestic statutory instruments and other significant issues which are going to be debated in the coming days.”
Asked if the situation was “embarrassing”, the spokesman replied that there was “a lot of work going on in relation to Brexit”.
They added: “We have not moved the motion to have February recess in order that MPs can have extra time to be dealing with Brexit and other domestic matters.”