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The BBC's Paul Barltrop
"A pointless waste of time"
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Friday, 19 May, 2000, 22:30 GMT 23:30 UK
MP to quit 'schoolboy' Commons
Tess Kingham
Tess Kingham has had enough of 'schoolboy politics'
Labour MP Tess Kingham has announced her intention to abandon her political career with a scathing attack on the working environment at the House of Commons.

She said she is no longer prepared to endure what she described as Parliament's "public school atmosphere and outdated practises", at a packed constituency party meeting on Friday evening.

Ms Kingham, who won her Gloucester seat for Labour in 1997, has been unhappy with working conditions in the House of Commons for some time, and on Friday announced her decision to stand down at the next election.



I think the whole place needs shaking up. A lot of it is futile. At the drop of a hat, you can be stuck there until 3am. It is schoolboy politics

Tess Kingham

The 36-year-old MP has repeatedly criticised Westminster for its lack of family friendly polices, and has called for a crèche to be set up in the Commons.

Ms Kingham - one of dozens of new women MPs brought into the Commons in Labour's landslide election year - has a four-year-old daughter and in January gave birth to twins Karl and Natasha.

But she denied giving up politics purely to spend more time with her young family.

Instead she said she no longer wished to work "in a gentleman's club" and was unwilling to stay up all night listening to "schoolboy politics", only to return to work the next day in a "fug of tiredness".

"I think the whole place needs shaking up," she said. "A lot of it is futile. At the drop of a hat, you can be stuck there until 3am."

Although her attack was aimed at Parliament rather than the government, it could cause some embarrassment to the Prime Minister Tony Blair, who is expecting an addition to his own family soon.

Women MPs were recently banned from breastfeeding their babies in the Commons and committee rooms at Westminster.

A Labour Party spokesman said: "Most Labour MPs were reselected by January but her reselection was delayed because she was pregnant.

"There have been one or two stories about her feelings for the House of Commons and she feels she owes it to members to explain those stories."

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15 Apr 00 | UK Politics
Commons breastfeed ban under fire
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