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MP takes swipe at Liam Fox with 'fat and lazy politicians' remarks

Published 13/09/2016

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MPs should be ranked according to how hard they work in a bid to uncover "fat or lazy" politicians, an MP has suggested.

Labour's Barry Sheerman was hitting out at Cabinet minister Liam Fox following his recent attack on British business culture.

Mr Sheerman said businesses want to know how to judge the efficiency and effectiveness of MPs.

The Huddersfield MP told the Commons: "I have been contacted by leading business people up and down the country regarding the efficiency and effectiveness of Members of this House.

"They have asked me if there could not be - there are informal ratings of how hard parliamentarians work - but there is no official kitemark.

"I wondered if you, Mr Speaker, could investigate whether we could look at which members here are fat or lazy which ones are hard-working and innovative?

"Isn't it time that we looked at members, some of them in their leafy suburbs and leafy parts of Britain who don't have much case work, who don't do very much - of course we know that those in the towns and cities work much harder.

"Could we have an evaluation, who works hard in this House and a kitemark showing that to our constituents?"

The proposal was put forward after Mr Fox, the recently appointed International Trade Secretary, criticised executives for preferring to play golf rather than fulfilling their "duty" as exporters.

The Cabinet minister faced a backlash from the business community after suggesting the UK had lost its way as a trading nation and had grown "too lazy and too fat" on the successes of previous generations.

Speaker John Bercow, responding to the point of order, insisted there is nothing wrong with being fat.

He said: "It's certainly not for the chair to pass judgment on these matters and I would get into hot water and very properly so if I were to start casting aspersions on body shape.

"I would simply say, and I'm sure you were not seeking my approbation, and you have no need of it, that you, yourself, are slim, assiduous, and endlessly energetic.

"As your continued re-election by the people of Huddersfield for the last 37 years I think readily testifies, at any rate you seem to enjoy their enthusiastic approval."

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