MPs offered counselling to manage Brexit stress

LONDON • Battles over Brexit have worn down British MPs, who are now being offered counselling to cope with the "extraordinary pressure" they have been under.

The Daily Telegraph reported on Thursday that House of Commons Deputy Speaker Lindsay Hoyle had written to all MPs to inform them about a 24-hour, confidential counselling phone line manned by trained counsellors and advisers.

"It is vital that in times of heightened stress in the workplace, we can access the necessary health and well-being support," he wrote on Thursday, a day after a particularly intense parliamentary session.

Despite enormous pressure, British MPs have voted down Prime Minister Theresa May's Brexit deal three times this year but have failed to agree on any alternatives.

The ruling Conservatives and the Labour opposition are now locked in talks to try to find a compromise that could pass through Parliament.

Security measures have heightened around Parliament because of angry heckling - mainly from hardline Leavers against Remainer MPs.

"Members of Parliament and staff are resilient, but Brexit has meant we are all working very long hours for extended periods of time whilst facing extraordinary pressure," Mr Hoyle wrote in his letter.

 
 

"In order to fulfil our duties and do our work on behalf of constituents, we must take care of our health and well-being," he wrote.

"Your needs will be discussed and together you will agree what support is required," he said. "This could be immediate support given there and then, or it may be agreed structured counselling is required."

MPs had to cancel a mid-term break in February and are greatly reducing their Easter holiday in order to make more time for Brexit debates.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

 
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 06, 2019, with the headline 'MPs offered counselling to manage Brexit stress'. Print Edition | Subscribe