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Last Updated: Monday, 23 July 2007, 09:00 GMT 10:00 UK
Commons Confidential: February 2008
Nick Assinder
By Nick Assinder
Political correspondent, BBC News website

Despatches from the House of Commons

Ever wondered what happens to MPs who have managed to hang on to their seats for years without ever making it onto the frontbech?

Paul Keetch
Mr Keetch suffered a heart attack on an a transatlantic flight
The Lib Dems Paul Keetch, who is to stand down at the next election after suffering a heart scare last year, offers the following depressing insight.

"You look around the House of Commons and see some members who have been there for 15, 20, 25 years and who are frankly doing nothing, particularly the ones with large majorities.

"It is not part of my plan to be hanging around the chamber waiting for death. Seeing the awful number of MPs in all parties who really should have moved on and done something else in their lives has spurred me on," he told the House magazine.

That's cheered me up.


Good to see at least one MP has got her priorities right - even if it does land her in trouble with her boss.

Nadine Dorries
Ms Dorries risked upsetting David Cameron
Tory Nadine Dorries reveals in her blog that, just as she was about to give a talk at a local school she received a phone call from the party's chief whip telling her David Cameron was calling a meeting of MPs for 10.15 and to be there.

"I couldn't let the teachers or the students down, so I sent my apologies and went into the school. That's me in trouble again then," she said.

Ah yes, but good choice. After all, you only have the luxury of being able to bunk off such meetings if you are an MP in the first place.

And suggesting you put local voters and their children ahead of the party leader is a good start.


Politicians are not normally known for their ability to keep their opinions to themselves.

Speaker Michael Martin
MPs are reluctant to criticise the Speaker
But, as the row over MPs expenses continues to rumble around Westminster, there is one issue on which they simply will not speak publicly.

It is on the relative merits of Commons Speaker Michael Martin, who will lead the review of the current system.

Many MPs on all sides will privately point out Mr Martin has come to the end of the traditional period in office for a Speaker, and will express their bemusement at his refusal to show any sign of being ready to retire.

Others have even gone so far as to question whether he really is the right man to lead the inquiry into MPs expenses, claiming he tends to support the status quo.

They may be well wide of the mark, and Mr Speaker may yet preside over the most radical shake-up in transparency rules yet seen in Westminster.

But, either way, just try getting anyone to say so on the record.

Why are they so afraid to speak out? Just listen to Tory leader David Cameron when asked just such a question as he unveiled his proposals to publish his frontbenchers' expenses details.

"I want to make sure I am called tomorrow at Prime Minister's Questions," he joked. At least, I think it was a joke.

Commons Confidential: January 2008
05 Feb 08 |  UK Politics
Commons Confidential: December 2007
08 Jan 08 |  UK Politics
Commons Confidential: November 2007
05 Dec 07 |  UK Politics
Commons Confidential: October 2007
05 Nov 07 |  UK Politics
Commons Confidential: July/Aug 07
15 Oct 07 |  UK Politics
Commons Confidential: June 2007
03 Jul 07 |  UK Politics
Commons Confidential: May 2007
04 Jun 07 |  UK Politics
Commons Confidential: April 2007
19 Apr 07 |  UK Politics
Commons Confidential: March 2007
17 Apr 07 |  UK Politics
Commons Confidential: February 2007
06 Mar 07 |  UK Politics
Commons Confidential: January 2007
05 Feb 07 |  UK Politics

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