2 May 2024


Sex and politics.

By Robert Kilconner

At last the mystery is solved. After years of wondering, we begin to understand why people decide to make politics their career. It isn’t the money. We already knew that. £91,346, the annual salary of an MP, sounds quite pleasant but palls beside the amounts earned in the City or the professions. Of course there are ‘expenses’, not as closely monitored as the public might like perhaps, but unless you have a veritable town of duck houses they are unlikely to make the case for a parliamentary career financially. Then there are the years as lobby fodder, an endless succession of surgeries, constituency meetings and long debates in which the Speaker ignores you so that you can only grunt or cheer with the rest. And when, apprenticeship served, you are in line for a minor ministerial post, the whole show is upset, the friends you have cultivated are flung from office and you have to start the tedious game of snakes and ladders all over again.

And even if you make it to the top, what then? Hero status among the public? No way. Cynical sneering journalists criticising your competence, your morality, your motives, accompanied by a slew of abuse on social media. Even for the successful, a politico’s lot is not a happy one. So why do people choose politics?

Well, now we know; it is the possibility of a honeytrap. Off you go on some fact finding tour in Eastern Europe. It involves days of boring lectures punctuated by visits to factories and dinner in a third class hotel. There is a knock on your hotel room door. You open it and it is a beautiful young Russian wearing only a dressing down and claiming to have locked themselves out of their room. They (and it will be a he or a she to match your inclinations} would be very grateful if they could spend a few hours in the armchair in your room until the concierge is on again. What do you do for a living? Oh, wow, a British MP (probably a Tory one as Labour’s scandals tend to focus on money rather than sex so that you would have been greeted by a gorilla holding a brown envelope rather than an underclad beauty). How interesting. They had always been fascinated by the mother of parliaments. And out come all the tricks they learned at the Kremlin’s school of sexual fascination and perversion techniques (SOFPT) and before long the dressing gown has gone and they are on the bed, and meanwhile the cameras whirr.

Well, as a way of spending an evening it beats reading reports on industrial policy but there is of course a reckoning. Back in London a package drops through your door containing a copy of a tape and an invitation to the consulate. They can be very very discreet, they explain, but there is a price – a little harmless information and a few phone numbers of others who might be approached.

Cut now to a basement room in Whitehall where your request for a meeting has been generously complied with and M, C, X and B+ are present. (It is a little-known secret of the security services that they have run out of initials and are having to use pluses and minuses). They have just viewed the tape and your buttocks have recently departed the screen.

“Good show,” comments X.

“Bang on,” exclaims B+.

“Yes,” you say, “I know it’s good. I have watched it many times but what information should I give them to keep it quiet?”

“Oh, we’ll supply that,” says M. “You are on the naval procurement committee, aren’t you? So we could begin with some deeply classified information on the recent trials of a new hundred-knot submarine.”

“But there haven’t been any such trials”.

“Quite so, quite so. No risk of the Ruskies receiving conflicting reports then. Excellent, I have brought the terms and conditions of service for double agents along with me. You will see there is an annual £50,000 remuneration.”

“Do I have to put it on the register of members’ interests?”

“Certainly not, nor HMRC. We are a secret service. The name is on the tin. There is a special exemption buried in the schedules to hundreds of pages of regulations about farming subsidies. Dozy committee never spotted it. No, you’re free and clear. Oh, one other thing. We may want you to pass over the phone numbers of a few  MPs with vulnerable sexual habits.”

“How do I know which ones?”

“There is a list, of course. They apply to us but there are so many applicants we have to select them by ballot.”

“What if the Russians discover? Would that be a Novichok cocktail?”

“No, the rules are well understood, they would devise some really exotic peccadillo to turn you into a triple agent with a small financial doucement to recognise previous experience and then we would have to engage you as a quadruple agent. I am afraid the Treasury will only let us have £20,000 a year extra for that. It is all very stable, we run the same system in reverse for members of the Duma.

When you get home you look again at the terms and conditions. One thing stands out. There is no limit to the number of intelligence agencies you can sign up to, a bit like London clubs. Now isn’t there a parliamentary mission to the Middle East coming up..?

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