Parliamentary Staffers Claim “Difficult” Work Causing Bad Mental Health

This morning’s Guardian published a rare exclusive which caught Guido’s attention: a “groundbreaking” study which reveals the alarming truths of working in Westminster. According to this pioneering research, around half of MPs’ staffers are at “breaking point” and suffer from “clinical levels of psychological distress“, with nearly 20% describing the experience of working the in mother of parliaments as “harrowing“. One of the reasons it’s been such a traumatic experience? Yes, Brexit…

“Parliamentary aides said they were at “breaking point” after years of crises, from Brexit to Covid, a lack of support from superiors and abuse from the public… 49.5% met the medical threshold for psychological distress – more than twice the level in the general population.”

The Guardian also somehow manages to connect this to Partygate, claiming the findings will “raise further concerns about the working culture in Westminster” ahead of Sue Gray’s report. A working culture so harrowing, so emotionally distressing, that staffers just can’t cope with how much fun it is to get drunk on subsidised booze. Even during Covid, staffers were handed a tax-free £312 bonus to cover home-working expenses. Must be tough. Meanwhile in Kyiv, MPs and their staff are still heading in to the office despite, erm, a full-scale invasion and missile strikes…

 

mdi-timer 23 May 2022 @ 13:58 23 May 2022 @ 13:58 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
How to Find Non-Binary MPs

Guido congratulates the Parliamentary IT services on their new seach functionality on the parliament.uk website. You can now search out MPs by gender. Or not. It is early days – so far no MP has self-defined as non-binary. Grindr style functionality at last…

mdi-timer 23 May 2022 @ 10:17 23 May 2022 @ 10:17 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
Parliament Appointing New Head of Security Intelligence

Guido understands that in light of increased activities by foreign state actors – a month ago MI5 warned about suspected Chinese agent Christine Lee – a Security Intelligence & Risk Analysis Service (SIRAS) is being established to bolster the Parliamentary Security Department (PSD), which is responsible for physical and personnel security across both Houses of Parliament.

The PSD sets security strategy and is an operational service in partnership with the Metropolitan Police. The new SIRAS team will operate within the PSD – with responsibility for bringing together threat, incident and security intelligence with “other agencies”. This will include in particular the Centre for the Protection of National Infrastructure (CPNI) – to mitigate the elevated risk from hacking. The new Head of Security Intelligence will establish a Threats & Intelligence team, to

“bring together multiple streams of relevant intelligence and information, including reporting from within Parliamentary community, from social media monitoring, open source, police and crime intelligence, cyber, digital and secret intelligence from Agency partners.”

There is a well-sourced rumour in Westminster that the security services recently advised Keir Starmer that a Shadow Cabinet member was a security risk as the result of an affair, and consequently they were reshuffled to a position without any security sensitivities. This is the type of politically delicate issue that the new £75,953 per annum Head of SIRAS will be expected to handle…

mdi-timer 22 February 2022 @ 14:27 22 Feb 2022 @ 14:27 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
Covid Restrictions Lifted From Parliamentary Estate

Following the reintroduction of Covid restrictions on the parliamentary estate two weeks ago, this morning staffers received confirmation that the measures are being lifted with immediate effect – with all events, including banquets and tours, able to resume “with continued caution“. Mask-wearing is now “encouraged”, although it’s no longer mandatory…

The statement reads:

“In line with the House of Commons Commission’s decision on Monday, most of the additional measures that have been in place since 2 November will be lifted with immediate effect, and the operation of the estate will return to the level previously agreed by the Commission on 18 October. UKHSA has advised that activities such as banqueting and tours are able to restart at this time, although with continued caution. UKHSA’s advice for Committees remains unchanged.

As such, Chairs are asked to continue to follow the advice provided on taking an active role in ensuring Committees are run safely. As is the case across the rest of London and the wider country, the situation remains fragile and COVID-19 is still circulating. In order to help ensure that cases do not rise again on the estate it is very important that we all follow good practice and government guidance in relation to COVID-19, as outlined below. The situation will continue to be monitored closely and measures reinstated if necessary.”

It always seemed a bit silly to implement social distancing on the estate when the Red Lion was packed with MPs and staffers just across the road…

mdi-timer 18 November 2021 @ 11:56 18 Nov 2021 @ 11:56 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
Parliament to Cancel Tours & Events Amid Covid Outbreak

Sources tell Guido that all tours and events of Parliament are to be cancelled as of tonight, following a significant Covid outbreak on the estate. The announcement is expected to be emailed to all estate workers later this evening. Looks like Parliament’s triggering its own Plan B, even with the country’s 7-day case rate falling…

Earlier today, staffers were primed for the bad news in a round robin message emphasising the need to “space out and avoid sitting directly opposite each other in working areas” and to “avoid close contact at all times.” This is on top of the existing rule to wear masks on the estate at all times – unless you happen to be an MP, obviously. A source tells Guido that “working spaces” also includes PCH, and that they’re heading to “exactly the same arrangements they had in place last year”…

Some MPs have already instructed their staff to return to working from home indefinitely. Déjà vu…

UPDATEStaff have now received an email confirming the news: 

“All events on the estate that do not relate to parliamentary business will be cancelled for the next two weeks, including banqueting events (Member-sponsored and third party), tours and other meetings.”

You’re either in front of Guido…

mdi-timer 1 November 2021 @ 20:21 1 Nov 2021 @ 20:21 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
Boris is “PM Most Active in Parliament” of the Modern Era

According to a press release sent to Guido, based on an analysis of Hansard, Boris Johnson is the most active PM in the Commons of the modern era. Despite his reputation for disliking parliament, Boris has been making an average of 12.8 contributions in parliament per week. James Callaghan and Theresa May come second and third, with an average of 11.3 and 6 contributions per week respectively. Tony Blair only made one contribution per week on average, making him the Prime Minister least present in parliament in the modern era.

Tyler Woodward, CEO of the cannabis products distributor Eden’s Gate, which commissioned the research, says:

“It comes as no surprise to me that Boris Johnson has been named hardest working PM in terms of parliamentary contributions. After all, he has been in office throughout Brexit and a worldwide health crisis! I’d suggest he makes sure to make time for himself and ensure he’s sleeping and eating well to avoid burnout.”

Guido has many so far unanswered questions about the methodology of this analysis. Have they been smoking the product?

Methodology: Cannabinoid oils distributor Eden’s Gate used Hansard to find the number of spoken parliamentary contributions each prime minister made whilst in office. They then divided this by how many weeks each prime minister spent in office to get the average number of contributions each PM made per week. They then ranked these in order to find the most hard working prime ministers of the modern age. Data collected and analysed 26/08/2021
mdi-timer 2 September 2021 @ 12:09 2 Sep 2021 @ 12:09 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
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