Comment: Sexy MPs? I'm recoiling with horror

You may be recoiling with horror, too
You may be recoiling with horror, too

I want my MPs to make law, not love. Even thinking about the latter is enough to induce panic attacks.

By Alex Stevenson

I am a quivering, shuddering wreck. Why? Because, like many thousands of other people in the last few days, I have visited, a horrific new website that allows us to vote for politicians based on their bodies, not their lawmaking abilities.

It's an interesting question, 'why?', isn't it? Voting for MPs based on their sexiness is like picking footballers based on their ability to pontificate on formal logic, or choosing a plumber based on how well-dressed they are. I want my MPs to make law, not love. They are in parliament for their brains, not any other parts of the anatomy. The Commons is not a place for reproduction. Although if it was, at least those green benches are quite soft.

Wait a minute. Perhaps there is something to this. Part of being a politician is popularity, and sex appeal can surely go a long way towards helping with this. Charm, a suave approach, an ability to be winning: these are all qualities which are just as handy on a night out as they are on the doorstep. Voters like choosing people based on their beliefs, but a decent face goes a long way, too.

It was in this spirit of open-minded investigation that I advanced, with caution, to the website in question. The site's founder, Francis Boulle of reality TV show Made In Chelsea fame, said: "I thought it would be an interesting opportunity to hold the first ever parliamentary beauty contest and find out once and for all which MPs and Parties have the most sex-appeal." Big Brother was established with the same high-minded 'experimental' principles in mind.

Best to leave those principles at the door. Users are presented with a stark choice. "Which MP would you rather have sex with? Choose one," the site demands. Presumably, if we were invited to score individual MPs out of ten, the average would be something around 1.5. That wouldn't work. So we are faced with monstrous choices, confronted with a desperate decision-making process which turns the experience into a living hell. Would I rather mix bodily fluids with this shrivelled-up specimen, or that one? Do I really have to choose? If there was a third 'kill myself' button, this would be a whole lot easier.

Grit the teeth. Wipe the sweat from the forehead. Lick the lips. Now we're actually doing this, deciding whether David Blunkett or Margaret Beckett would offer a more enjoyable experience, it's possible to discern further problems. The problem with the website is it doesn't show any of these people in their element.

Even supposing that they have the slightest remnants of sexual appeal about their repellent middle-aged bodies, a simple mugshot is not really the best way of assessing this. There are some females with decent pictures quite high up the list, for example, who - having met them (but no more) in the flesh - I can categorically assure users are not all they're cracked up to be. Similarly, the more vivacious and engaging personalities - again, I name no names - can often turn out to be much more charming than their alarming pictures might suggest.

Is there, perhaps, a power bias? David Cameron performs reasonably well, at 127th out of 648 - but then you'd expect him to slot in round about there. Nick Clegg is in a slightly less impressive 222nd. There are actually a cluster of Cabinet members around this mark - including Chris Huhne, Theresa May and even Kenneth Clarke. Clarke? Something is horribly wrong.

And that, before not too long, is the inevitable conclusion which this process brings. Sooner or later it will happen to you. Perhaps it will come when you are invited to select whether you would rather have sex with Hazel Blears or Caroline Spelman. Maybe the dilemma of your preference for Vince Cable or Menzies Campbell might push you over the edge. Eventually, the moment will come when you never want to see another MP's face again.

Incredibly, there has not yet been uproar from MPs. Even the feminist Lib Dem MP Jo Swinson has called the site "relatively harmless". As anyone who has seen The Social Network will realise, it's a ripoff of an early version of Facebook which compared college girls. That received tens of thousands of hits within hours of launching. College girls and their lustful male contemporaries could be relied on to be vain. It looks like the same can now be said of our ugly, ugly politicians.


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