Belfast Telegraph

Friday 18 April 2014

MP vows to wear onesie in Commons

Alec Shelbrooke the new MP for Elmet and Rothwell in Leeds, outside the Houses of Parliament.

An MP is promising to wear a tiger-striped onesie to vote in the House of Commons if enough people donate money to a hospice in his constituency.

Alec Shelbrooke, the Conservative MP for the West Yorkshire constituency of Elmet and Rothwell, is aiming to raise £5,000 for the Martin House Children's Hospice in Boston Spa, which provides care for young people with life-limiting illnesses and support for their families.

If he hits the figure, Mr Shelbrooke says he will go through the division lobby of the House of Commons wearing the onesie, in support of Martin House's Good Night's Sleep appeal, which aims to raise £120,000 to fund respite stays for families of children using the hospice.

Explaining his plans on fundraising website www.justgiving.com/ashelbrookemp, the MP said: " The appeal and the hospice aim to raise money to provide care for children and young people with short life expectancies and provide support to their families.

"The hospice is very dear to my heart, and is in my constituency. The appeal asks if people would stage pyjama parties, or go to work in their pyjamas to raise money, and an idea formed.

"I am aiming to raise £5,000 for the Good Night's Sleep appeal and Martin House, and once this figure is raised I will walk through the Division Lobby at the Houses of Parliament in full view of the public, my peers, and the press wearing nothing but a onesie.

"Don't think I'll actually go through with it? Well, donate and find out!"

Mr Shelbrooke wore the onesie - complete with tiger tail, ears, paws and claws - on BBC2's Daily Politics to publicise his fund-raising effort.

He told the programme he did not believe the orange-and-black costume would breach parliamentary rules on MPs' attire.

"You have to show respect for the chamber," said Mr Shelbrooke. "I'm not going to wear it in the chamber. I don't need to ask the Speaker because I'm not going in the chamber."

By lunchtime today, Mr Shelbrooke had raised just four donations totalling £60 via the justgiving website.

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