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Last Updated: Monday, 22 August 2005, 09:50 GMT 10:50 UK
Da Vinci Code tops MPs' reading
A tourist reads a book on a beach
MPs' list "in touch" with public
Bestseller The Da Vinci Code has come top in a survey of what MPs are reading on their summer holidays this year.

Dan Brown's book beat ex-Tory leader William Hague's biography of William Pitt the Younger into second spot, with the latest Harry Potter in third.

CommunicateResearch's survey was based on responses from 153 MPs.

Mr Hague's book was the most popular read for peers, ahead of biographies of Chairman Mao and Churchill and Bill Clinton's autobiography.

The Da Vinci Code
Pitt, by William Hague
The latest Harry Potter
Mao, by Jung Chang
Birds without Wings, Louis de Bernieres
My Life, Bill Clinton
Niall Ferguson on the empire
Niall Ferguson on US empire
Angels and Demons, Dan Brown
Small Island, Andrea Levy
Source: Communicateresearch

The survey also found that 48% of MPs believed they would have time to finish their chosen reading.

Among the responses from Labour MPs was one saying their holiday reading would be "prob bios of Gordon Brown".

Among Conservative MPs, one said their holiday reading would be "submissions on BBC Charter Review", while another was John Sergeant's book Maggie: Her Fatal Legacy.

Liberal Democrats all chose different reading - ranging from "policy books I'm afraid" to "various astronomy titles on planetary evolution".

Among other MPs' reading is "4 or 5 Welsh language books", "The Bible" and "NHS and Devolution by the LSE".

The Da Vinci Code, derided by critics and the subject of furious religious debate, has sold 17 million copies.

Stephanie Merritt, a novelist and deputy literary editor at the Observer, told BBC Radio 4's Today programme she believed that the MPs' list had been invented to make them sound more "in touch" and to avoid looking "clever or poncy".

Quentin Letts, a sketchwriter for the Daily Mail, told the same programme that he also did not believe the list, but said he was pleased to know that MPs did apparently read and that he was relieved there were "no guru" type books amongst them.

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