Politics: New MPs' radical image fades

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The Independent Online
Their arrival was meant to herald the start of a fresh, modernising era in the House of Commons. But a survey has revealed that the 1997 intake of new MPs shows no more inclination to radically change the place than their predecessors did.

The Parliamentary House Magazine reports that while almost half the MPs elected for the first time in May would like to change the Palace of Westminster, as many want better offices as much as a new kind of politics. The magazine wrote to the 253 new members and received replies from 192. Some complained about the "museum-like" atmosphere but just as many said they liked the sense of history about the place. Only three thought the debates too adversarial, but 27 said there was too much paperwork. One said what he really wanted was "an office with a window please".

The authors, Professor Philip Norton, from the University of Hull, and Austin Mitchell, long-standing Labour MP for Great Grimsby, said that the new MPs did not seem to be hankering after major changes.