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Sun, 14 April 2024

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By Baroness Fox
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Beat the bulge...or by-election!

(Alamy)

3 min read

Steve Miller, the exacting host of the iconic 2010s show Fat Families, offers satirical weight loss tips to parliamentarians

With nearly two-thirds of the United Kingdom now overweight or obese, there should be no wobble-wobble when it comes to our political leaders showcasing themselves as slim rather than stout. But with all humans fallible, fresh policy and intervention to support our political figures is only fair and reasonable. 

Cue the proposed ‘Fat-free Parliamentary Code’ designed to support MPs, peers and ministers to live life svelte, not stocky. Implementation will inspire colleagues to ensure they have their mind over their platter, be exemplary exercise ambassadors, and motivate themselves to become living proof to the nation that obesity can become obsolete. 

Clause 1: Going big for Japan
Japan boasts one of the lowest rates of obesity in the world. Reasons for success include employee annual waist measurements (‘metabo’ law). Aligning to this will see MPs and colleagues attend an annual measurement of their waistline. If proportions are of concern, they will be required to attend weight-loss coaching sessions to support healthy eating and increase exercise. 

Clause 2: Rear warnings
Research has shown that a strong shock tactic of graphic warnings on cigarette packets was hugely successful in reducing the number of smokers. This clever concept can now be mirrored to motivate our parliamentarians to select healthier food options. On-site menus will therefore include a visual of one, two or three backsides against each food and drink option, ensuring that diners stop, look and listen before ordering. 
•    One backside: Very healthy option
•    Two backsides: Moderately healthy option
•    Three backsides: Not-so-healthy option

Should MPs fail to take any action...a by-election will be called

Clause 3: Bar self-assessments
Controlling the intake of alcohol at the bar is crucial to managing waistlines. A measured alcohol intake will ensure MPs and peers wake up with clear heads ready to carry out their public duties. The implementation of ‘bar self-assessments’ will require all parliamentarians to complete a weekly alcohol self-assessment. If anyone has exceeded the recommended units of alcohol for the week, they will receive an automatic ban from the bar for three months. 

Clause 4: Mandatory gym membership 
Exercise is not only beneficial to maintaining a good BMI, it is also essential for good mental health. Therefore, MPs and peers will be required to join the parliamentary gym. In addition, it is proposed that dance classes are introduced, facilitating both a burn of one’s calories and teambuilding across all political parties. 

Clause 5: The excuse-free declaration
Attitude is especially important when managing weight, and it is therefore important to control excuses. Reinforcing the message to the nation that personal responsibility to manage weight is essential, all parliamentarians will sign the ‘Parliamentary Excuses are Calorific’ declaration, confirming their motivation to control food, drink and portions. 

Clause 6: By-election penalty
The annual cost of obesity to the NHS is estimated at £6.5bn. However, taking account of both direct and indirect costs, obesity is reportedly costing Britain’s economy almost £100bn a year. This is a hefty sum and parliamentarians must be the beacons for banishing the bulge. Therefore, should MPs fail to take any action (if applicable) within one month of their annual waist measurement, a by-election will be called. 

And finally…
In the spirit of support, all MPs and peers will recognise that there are times when managing one’s weight can be a challenge. This proposed code also brings with it compassion, understanding and a chanted recognition that we are all too gorgeous not to take care of ourselves. 

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