Freebies get the thumbs down from Labour MPs

The depth of hostility to lobbying among new Labour MPs was revealed this week in a survey of 300 MPs as part of the 1997 British Representation Study.

The depth of hostility to lobbying among new Labour MPs was

revealed this week in a survey of 300 MPs as part of the 1997 British

Representation Study.



Just 19 per cent of the 90 new Labour MPs in the sample said they

thought the problem of sleaze in British politics had been blown out of

all proportion, compared to 30 per cent of Labour MPs overall and 98 per

cent of the Conservatives.



The results, unveiled at a seminar on Wednesday by Peter Kellner of

Political Context also showed the Labour newcomers to be much tougher on

the kind of gifts or donations it is right for an MP to accept from a

lobbyist.



Thirty-two per cent of the new Labour MPs said it was wrong to accept a

free lunch compared to 22 per cent of all Labour MPs. No Tories thought

it unacceptable.



Free tickets to Wimbledon were rejected by 78 per cent of new Labour

MPs, 62 per cent of all Labour MPs and 18 per cent of Tories; wine or

whisky at Christmas by 71 per cent, 66 per cent and 34 per cent

respectively.



Payment for giving advice on parliamentary matters was described as

wrong by 91 per cent of the Labour newcomers, compared to 87 per cent of

all Labour MPs and just 44 per cent of Tories.



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