Papers fudge sweet tooth truth about MPs

The Daily Mail and Sunday Times are trying hard to be appalled about the chocolate consumption of MPs. The Mail reports:

“MPs and ministers are preaching the public about the need to eat healthily while helping to chomp through 100,000 chocolate bars in Parliament every year… in the cafes, shops and bars in the Houses of Parliament.”

But it should be pointed out many of those shops, cafe and bars are open to upwards of 5,000 employees working at the Houses of Parliament and some are also open to thousands of visitors entering the estate each day – not to mention dozens of journalists, some of whom look like they might know their way around a KitKat.

Yet the Mail seems to think this figure of 100,000 chocolate bars equates to some gross hypocrisy:

“David Cameron once railed against shops selling cheap chocolate at their checkouts…and just last week he suggested obese people should be refused out-of-work benefits.”

And The Sunday Times has roped in somebody from the National Obesity Forum to say:

This is no example to give the electorate. Members of parliament should lead by example.”

But hang on a fudging moment. Let’s imagine, for a minute, none of the visitors to the Houses of Parliament – even the journalists – have EVER bought a single chocolate bar during their visit and only the 5,000 or so employees, including David Cameron, have been buying them at a rate of 100,000 per year and consuming them themselves.

That still works out at an average of just 20 bars each per year, albeit counting only those bought and consumed at work. That’s less than one every other week and around 10 per cent of the national average, according to figures from Datamonitor.

So I won’t lie, I’m struggling to find room on the list of reasons to dislike MPs for their modest, below average chocolate consumption. If anything, I’d probably think a bit more of some of them if I thought for one minute they treated themselves to a KitKat every now and again. But I suspect many of them are saving themselves for the tax-payer subsidised champagne, lobster and caviar.

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