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While mps discuss among themselves their chances of an increase in wages, i would like to propose a token reduction of £10 a year to take a bit of the conceit out of them. a labour back-bencher is reported to have told a staff officer who kept a parliamentary delegation waiting because he had to go and meet the chief of the defence staff that he had his priorities wrong: 'this is a delegation from the sovereign parliament of the united kingdom. mountbatten is just an official.' and another labour back-bencher (or so i was told by a tory back-bencher) complained recently after being received in the british embassy in paris that the martinis were not strong enough. 'what do these fellows think they get all these allowances for?' he asked indignantly.