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"None of the MPs who tested positive admitted to sexual arousal"
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Friday, 3 November, 2000, 14:58 GMT
MPs turned on by Thatcher?
Margaret Thatcher
Thatcher still brings MPs out in a sweat
Call it anger, call it arousal but MPs are more likely to be cranked up by a picture of former prime minister Margaret Thatcher than a skull, or a scantily clad TV presenter.

An experiment conducted by the science attraction at-Bristol exposed 25 politicians and 25 regular people to images that also included a lesbian kiss, the BBC's Jeremy Paxman, various barely-clad women and men, a spider and Tony Blair.

Lesbians kissing
MPs unstirred by lesbians
The outcome of the research suggests what many might have already supposed - that politicians are just not like other people.

Researchers hooked the MPs up to an emotion detector, showed them the pictures and measured the electric resistance of their skin.

Sweat breaks out

The machine is similar to a lie detector, measuring the sweat that tends to break out when people are stressed or aroused.

Dr Kathy Sykes of at-Bristol, concedes that it may be that the MPs were not actually turned on by the woman many Tories still idolise.

"In a lot of cases it was anger," she said.

Jeremy Paxman
Paxman - one MP sweated
But, nevertheless, Dr Sykes was surprised by the results, saying she "was amazed" that so many MPs reacted more to Lady Thatcher than "to Denise van Outen's bare flesh".

"Most people respond to scantily clad images, so why should MPs be any different?"

Not all the politicians got in a lather about Lady Thatcher, however, with 20% reacting more to other images, including one very strong reaction to Mr Paxman.

Although Dr Sykes conceded the research was more about having a bit of fun than conducting a scientific survey, it does indicate that the majority of MPs and their constituents are poles apart.

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