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Terry Fields

A Worker in Parliament

(June 1983)

From Militant, No. 656, 24 June 1983, p. 3.
Transcribed by Iain Dalton.
Marked up by Einde O’Callaghan for the Encyclopaedia of Trotskyism On-Line (ETOL).

TERRY FIELDS, Labour newly elected MP for Liverpool Broadgreen, described to Militant what it was like to enter Parliament.

The first day back after the election was obviously exceptional, with hundreds of new MPs trying to find their way around. It was a real madhouse. I’d have been completely lost if a member of staff hadn’t showed me around.

The first thing that strikes you is the ecclesiastical atmosphere, and the cloistered feel of the place. It’s known as the most exclusive club in Britain, and that’s true. Everyone is very chummy – MPs meet up with their buddies from all parties. It was like an old boys reunion.

Everyone was rushing around trying to get all the form filling and formalities out of the way, mixed up with loads of flunkies and officials dressed in archaic fancy dress. I see the opposition as class enemies, and though I’d obviously expected it, it was still quite a shock to encounter the chummy relationships between the “old hands”.

There was a long queue with MP’s pushing and shoving to take the oath of allegiance to the Queen and the law. More than one Labour MP took it with fingers crossed and standing on one leg.

The atmosphere in the Chamber is unreal. People just jeering and shouting at each other. It is all very sixth form debating society ‘Yah-boo’ mentality. A lot of business seems to take place in the tea rooms. For people used to democracy and fair play of the labour movement the conduct of the debates and standards of speeches is quite a shock. If you are isolated you’d be intimidated and soon conform to the atmosphere and ritual nature of the place.

However I’m concerned with the United Biscuits closure in Liverpool, and I’m hoping to make my maiden speech soon on that issue.

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Last updated: 19 January 2018