Stressed MPs too tired for sex

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The Independent Online

Political Correspondent

Good news for John Major's war on "sleaze" - MPs have admitted they are too tired to have sex. But, according to a new study, they have the consolation of eating, drinking and smoking too much.

"Levels of emotional stress had increased considerably" among MPs since 1992, according to a study by occupational psychologist Ashley Weinberg, and their satisfaction with their work has decreased.

Of a sample of 93 MPs, nearly half (44 per cent) reported stress symptoms of tiredness and exhaustion, over a third (38 per cent) reported a decline in interest in sex and 37 per cent reported a lack of sleep.

Nearly all MPs said they spent too little time with their partners and children, while most found it "difficult to cut off from work when at home, with stress from the workplace contributing to tension at home".

Mr Weinberg, of Manchester University, studied the impact of the "Jopling reforms" of the Commons timetable, which were introduced in January of this year. Designed to "humanise" working practices at Westminster, these involved the virtual abolition of all-night sessions and the addition of morning sessions on Wednesdays.

Four-fifths of Mr Weinberg's sample said the reforms had made things easier, while one-fifth had noticed no difference or said things had got worse.

Nearly all MPs, 95 per cent, said they worked more than 55 hours a week, with nearly half, 46 per cent, claiming to work more than 70 hours.

Despite the reforms, 45 per cent of the sample reported a "frequent or occasional tendency to eat, drink or smoke too much".

Mr Weinberg's report will be published in the Commons magazine on Monday.