Letter: MPs don't merit our sympathy

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Sir: Andrew Marr ('Sex is your business; your lies are mine', 10 February) demands our sympathy for the onerous working conditions which Members of Parliament endure. He must be joking.

Many businessmen and professionals work long hours and are away from their families for extended periods of time. Frequently, too, they are exercising heavy responsibilities and taking decisions on issues of greater import to the future of their fellow citizens - and of the country as a whole - than many on which Members of Parliament are called to pass judgement. Come to that, given their poor attendance records, 'moonlighting' and neglect of their constituencies, instant dismissal would be the fate of many MPs in any other professional environment.

As to the expense-account lunches, at which so many members and government ministers appear to spend their time exchanging idle gossip with Mr Marr and his lobby colleagues, these are a rapidly disappearing feature of life in the 'real' world outside Westminster.

That our political process is regarded as increasingly irrelevant is neither the fault of the media, nor of the 'prurience' of the general public; it is the fault of our institutions and of the politicians themselves.

Yours faithfully,

ANDREW MITCHELL

London, W4

11 February

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