Absolute nonsense from Labour MP Austin Mitchell here about his recent appearance on the excellent Channel 4 documentary 'Tower Block of Commons'. The programme put 5 MPs into run down housing estates so that they could experience what life was like for thousands of people in this country. Mitchell has complained that he was misled about the documentary and that he is portrayed in a bad light as a result. This is simply rubbish.
All the other MPs were clearly profoundly affected by the experience and they all appear to have come away with a much greater understanding of the difficulties faced by many people every day. All of the MPS - bar one - lived with council tenants. The exception was Austin Mitchell who insisted on having his own flat and taking his wife along. All the MPs shared meals and went out with their hosts - except one. Austin Mitchell went to a friend's house for dinner and dined alone with his wife on other evenings.
Credit to Lib Dem Mark Oaten, Tories Nadine Dorries and Tim Loughton and an honorable mention for Iain Duncan Smith, who had to leave early as his wife had been diagnosed with a serious illness. All of them got involved in the estates and all of them made real efforts to help their hosts and their neighbours during the week they spent with them. By contrast, Austin Mitchell represents the very worst kind of Labour MP, one who appears to have no regard for the people he is supposed to represent.