Plumbing: Inside the latest Westminster scandal - urinegate

 

We've had Watergate, Hackgate and now #urinegate. However, considering the context of the latest scandal to blight parliament – a leaky urinal above MP Ben Bradshaw's office – Watergate as a title would probably still suffice.

After two days of sitting in a pee-drenched study the former Culture Secretary turned to Twitter to share the dank details of his predicament; the result of "a men's urinal with Victorian copper piping with holes in it" on the floor above. As the estate services hurried to find the source of the dripping, a temporary solution was found in the form of a bucket, while Bradshaw's two female assistants took to wearing strong (but "very nice") perfume to cover up the unpleasant smell.

It may not be the biggest leak a government has ever experienced, but could the fresh attention being given to the decaying building's facilities mark a watershed moment for Westminster? A survey taken in June found that loo problems topped the list of MP's workplace woes, with a third complaining the lavatories were too dirty. Such is the extent of dereliction in the Houses of Parliament that it could cost up to £3bn to refurbish it, and some have simply suggested selling it off altogether.

Meanwhile, some Whitehall cleaners continue to be paid below the living wage in many government departments. Urinegate certainly plays nicely into the hand of Unite's current "Justice For Cleaners" campaign.

It comes as no surprise, then, that yesterday, Bradshaw published an open letter in the Exeter Express and Echo stating that "investing in flood defences is a must". Perhaps it was the unsavoury situation in his office, rather than the disastrous weather which hit the west of England last week, that inspired this plea.

But despite the people of Britain having a fine propensity to make light of loos, in all their oddly shaped ceramic forms, workplace hygiene is a serious concern. It is a legal requirement for employers to keep washroom facilities in a clean and orderly condition and one can only assume that this obligation includes keeping one's office free of ministerial piddle. Time for an inquiry, wouldn't you say?

Suggested Topics
Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Interactive / Mobile Developer

£40000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This digital production agency ...

Recruitment Genius: PHP Developer - Midweight

£40000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This digital production agency ...

Recruitment Genius: Junior Front End Developer

£20000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This digital production agency ...

Recruitment Genius: Front End Developer - Midweight / Senior

£35000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This digital production agency ...

Day In a Page

Giants Club: After wholesale butchery of Idi Amin's regime, Uganda’s giants flourish once again

Uganda's giants are flourishing once again

After the wholesale butchery of Idi Amin's regime, elephant populations are finally recovering
The London: After 350 years, the riddle of Britain's exploding fleet is finally solved

After 350 years, the riddle of Britain's exploding fleet is finally solved

Archaeologists will recover a crucial item from the wreck of the London which could help shed more light on what happened in the vessel's final seconds
Airbus has patented a jet that could fly from London to New York in one hour

Airbus has patented a jet that could fly from London to New York in one hour

The invention involves turbojets and ramjets - a type of jet engine - and a rocket motor
10 best sun creams for kids

10 best sun creams for kids

Protect delicate and sensitive skin with products specially formulated for little ones
Turkey-Kurdish conflict: Obama's deal with Ankara is a betrayal of Syrian Kurds and may not even weaken Isis

US betrayal of old ally brings limited reward

Since the accord, the Turks have only waged war on Kurds while no US bomber has used Incirlik airbase, says Patrick Cockburn
VIPs gather for opening of second Suez Canal - but doubts linger over security

'A gift from Egypt to the rest of the world'

VIPs gather for opening of second Suez Canal - but is it really needed?
Jeremy Corbyn dresses abysmally. That's a great thing because it's genuine

Jeremy Corbyn dresses abysmally. That's a great thing because it's genuine

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, applauds a man who clearly has more important things on his mind
The male menopause and intimations of mortality

Aches, pains and an inkling of mortality

So the male menopause is real, they say, but what would the Victorians, 'old' at 30, think of that, asks DJ Taylor
Man Booker Prize 2015: Anna Smaill - How can I possibly be on the list with these writers I have idolised?

'How can I possibly be on the list with these writers I have idolised?'

Man Booker Prize nominee Anna Smaill on the rise of Kiwi lit
Bettany Hughes interview: The historian on how Socrates would have solved Greece's problems

Bettany Hughes interview

The historian on how Socrates would have solved Greece's problems
Art of the state: Pyongyang propaganda posters to be exhibited in China

Art of the state

Pyongyang propaganda posters to be exhibited in China
Mildreds and Vanilla Black have given vegetarian food a makeover in new cookbooks

Vegetarian food gets a makeover

Long-time vegetarian Holly Williams tries to recreate some of the inventive recipes in Mildreds and Vanilla Black's new cookbooks
The haunting of Shirley Jackson: Was the gothic author's life really as bleak as her fiction?

The haunting of Shirley Jackson

Was the gothic author's life really as bleak as her fiction?
Bill Granger recipes: Heading off on holiday? Try out our chef's seaside-inspired dishes...

Bill Granger's seaside-inspired recipes

These dishes are so easy to make, our chef is almost embarrassed to call them recipes
Ashes 2015: Tourists are limp, leaderless and distinctly UnAustralian

Tourists are limp, leaderless and distinctly UnAustralian

A woefully out-of-form Michael Clarke embodies his team's fragile Ashes campaign, says Michael Calvin