Focus: Westminster: Government stumbles over diability billBMJ 1994; 308 doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmj.308.6943.1530a (Published 11 June 1994) Cite this as: BMJ 1994;308:1530
- J Warden
On the day the Labour leader, John Smith, died last month talks were due to have taken place between the government and the opposition about changing the working life of MPs, especially their addiction to unsocial hours. Plans to reform the House of Commons - morning sittings, earlier nights, and free Fridays - now await the advent of Labour's new leader. The motivation for changing parliament's ways is partly a perception that it imposes an undue stress on its members and perhaps puts their lives at risk.
Evidence for this is equivocal. The average age of MPs dying in the course of the last parliament was 56. John Smith was 55, exactly the average of the eight MPs who have died in the first two years of the present parliament. But if this suggests a pattern of premature deaths they cannot on examination …
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