Should taxpayers really be spending up to £250,000 helping our politicians feel the burn?
Name: Westminster Gym.
Age: 14 years.
Appearance: A dank underground chamber filled with sweaty politicians and special equipment.
That sounds unsavoury. Are restraints involved? Not as far as I’m aware. This is an exclusive gym for parliamentary staff, including lords and MPs, so there are just the usual running machines, cross-trainers, free weights and so on.
That’s a relief. They each pay a membership fee to use the facilities, which are in a basement next to Portcullis House. There’s a studio named after Betty Boothroyd and numerous regular classes, including “zumba”, “beach body” and “legs, bums and tums”.
Beach body for politicians? Seriously? Lord Prescott never misses it.
Is that true? What is truth?
Let’s not get into that. OK. But Jack Straw apparently does love body blast, and the spinning class. Unfortunately, despite £247,500 being spent on ventilation in March 2010, there is still some damp.
Oh no! How can we expect our parliamentarians to run the country properly if there’s a musty smell while they’re working out? I know. And that’s not all. The gym is not yet fully wheelchair accessible, the showers are too small and need more towel-storage space – and the new spinning studio is long overdue.
Goodness. It sounds like the black hole of Calcutta! I know. Luckily, the Parliamentary authorities have decided to spend the £200,000-£250,000 that it will cost to end this madness.
They’re refurbishing it with the nation’s taxes? That’s correct.
Wait a minute. If my gym wanted to do all that, they’d have to fund it out of the profits from membership fees. So either it wouldn’t get done, or I’d end up paying for it. You don’t make the rules. Parliament does.
Wait! I’ve suddenly thought of a new fitness concept! Really?
Yes. Each day you’re met at your front door by an angry mob who chase you all the way to work. I call it Lynchercise. Perhaps parliamentary staff could try that? Wouldn’t the mob be quite expensive to assemble?
Oh I’m sure there would be volunteers. Or the unemployed could do it for nothing.
Do say: “And thighs to the right, and toes to the left … come on, my lords! Carry that motion!”
Don’t say: “Is my right honourable friend going to be much longer with the hairdryer?”