Nettled by the lack of support from the Liberals during Tuesday's debate over extended sitting hours, New Democrat House Leader Peter Julian held a pre-caucus press conference to "expose the decision" of the third party to "sell out the legitimate rights of opposition parties, and help the Conservative government pass its legislative agenda."

Julian told reporters that last night's vote was only the most recent instance of the Liberals "following Conservative direction" — a trend that he says he's been hearing about in his riding.

He also called the Liberals the "best friends" of Prime Minister Stephen Harper.

On Tuesday night, the New Democrats voted against the government's proposal to add an extra shift to the parliamentary workday — not, as its members made clear during the debate, because they don't want to sit late, but because they objected to a provision that will limit their ability to move motions and trigger votes outside regular House hours.

NDP House Leader Peter Julian

NDP House Leader Peter Julian. (Sean Kilpatrick/The Canadian Press)

The Liberals sided with their Conservative colleagues, which prompted much grumbling amongst their fellow travellers on the opposition side of the Chamber.

Liberals 'best friends' of PM Harper: NDP

Julian told reporters he and his his colleagues were surprised to see the Liberal MPs vote against what he described as his party's attempt to "maintain the procedural tools and powers [of] members of Parliament."

"They voted to take away those procedural tools, and make sure that they’re placed uniquely in the hands of the Conservatives," Julian said.

"Our conclusion is that really, the Liberals under Mr. Trudeau are the best friends of Mr. Harper."

Julian pointed to the Liberal position on the Keystone XL pipeline as another example of the Liberals "following Conservative direction." 

NDP position 'unbelievable'

Liberal deputy House leader Kevin Lamoureux suggested the NDP position is inconsistent.

"It's unbelievable that the NDP would oppose sitting extra hours, and then try to spin a justification for their stupidity," he said in an email to CBC News.

While he agrees that the government's use of time allocation is "abusive," he said the Liberals want more time for debate, not less.

"The trade-off is that we are guaranteed more time for debate," Lamoureux said.

"We have spent over 65 hours on time allocation motions alone," he noted.

"Some bills are simple and non-controversial."

The new schedule, which took effect last night, will keep the House open until midnight every night but Friday until MPs head home for the summer recess in June.