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By Tim Montgomerie

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An extraordinary claim in today's Sunday Times (£):

"A sixth of the 2010 intake of Tory MPs have divorced, formally separated or had long-term relationships break down since the election. Charles Walker, the MP for Broxbourne, who is an unofficial counsellor to fellow Tory MPs, said 23 of the 147 newly elected in 2010 had been affected. He estimates this amounts to one in six of those who were in a relationship at the general election."

Assuming the statistic is true, is this level of breakdown worse today than it once was? What's the reason? The parliamentary hours? The relative decline in remuneration? The drinking culture in the Commons? A general decline in morals? The way in which MPs have become super constituency case-workers, never able to switch off and spend time with their families? The expenses crisis and the relentless and high-pressurised examination of MPs? I have no idea but one-sixth of MPs seeing their relationships break down is very sad and worrying. Parliament will lose many good future members if those people come to include that an MP's life comes at too high a price.

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