Election stress for UK MPs can prove fatal, reveals ElixirNews survey

London: In the UK Labour politicians are twice as likely to die of “lifestyle”diseases than their Tory colleagues, reveals a new survey by ElixirNews.com.

And stress-related heart attacks are the biggest killer of politicians whatever their party. MPs from northern constituencies appear to be prone to “lifestyle” illnesses such as heart disease and stress – one in three of the MPs who has died in the last 25 years has come from the north.

The risk of a heart attack and other illness also accelerates at times of stress such as fighting a General Election or by-election, particularly for the incumbent party. Around the time of the 1997 General Election which brought Tony Blair’s Labour Party to power, three Tory MPs died – Sir Michael Shersby (Uxbridge), aged 64, one week after the Election after a heart attack ; Iain Mills (Meriden) , aged 56, who was found dead in his flat. He had been arrested and given a police warning about drunkenness after being found slumped in the street a few months previously and Barry Porter (Wirral South), 57, who had cancer. Both deaths occurred a few months before the Election. Two Labour MPs suffering from cancer also died just months before – Martin Redmond (Don Valley), aged 59 and Terry Patchett, aged 56, who both had cancer.

In 1990 five Labour MPs died in one year – Allen Adams (Paisley North), aged 44; Pat Wall (Bradford North), aged 57; Mike Carr, who had a fatal heart attack aged 43, after holding his Bootle seat for only two months; Sean Hughes (Knowley North) who died of cancer aged, aged 44; Allan Roberts, aged 43, from cancer who was succeeded by Mr Carr.

An analysis, by ElixirNews.com, of the causes of death of nearly 100 MPs and Prime Ministers over the last 25 years reveals that twice as many Labour politicians die from the main degenerative diseases of ageing, as their Tory colleagues.

The main diseases of ageing are of the cardiovascular system (heart and blood vessels) and the immune system – much of which is self-inflicted illness brought about by poor lifestyle choices: overeating and becoming obese, taking too little exercise, smoking cigarettes and drinking too much alcohol. Medical experts also believe that stress can be a trigger for heart attacks and in the case of cancer, can be a trigger for the growth of mutant cells which then turn into tumours.

The survey also discovered that the average age of death of UK MPs is around 69 years – below the average life expectancy in Britain today, which is 75 for men and 80 for women (United Nations statistic). Only 28% of Labour politicians die a “natural” old age compared to 39% of Tories.

Labour MPs also die earlier than Tory MPs by an average of four years. But the degenerative brain disease, Alzheimer’s, has claimed more Tory victims than Labour.

The list of Labour politicians who have died in their 50s from lifestyle/degenerative diseases include: Anthony Crosland, the Labour Foreign Secretary, who died following a stroke in 1977 at the age of 58; Donald Dewar, Scotland’s First Minister, who died of a brain haemorrhage which was preceded by heart surgery, in 2000 aged 63; Bernie Grant, the MP for Tottenham, died of a heart attack in 2000 aged 58 and John Smith, the Labour Party leader at the time, died of a heart attack aged only 55 in May 1994.

The Tory Party still holds the record for the more bizarre cause of death. The Conservative MP for Eastleigh, Stephen Milligan, died aged 45 in 1994. He was found naked wearing stockings and suspenders with an orange in his mouth. The death was thought to be the result of auto-erotic asphyxiation combined with self-bondage and cross-dressing.

The survey examined the causes of death of 95 MPs and Prime Ministers who have died in the last quarter of a century and discovered the following:

The average age of death of a Prime Minister in the 20th century is 80 years as compared to 72 in the 19th century and 65 in the 18th century. The longest living Labour PM was Jim Callaghan who died earlier this year just before his 93rd birthday. The oldest Conservative PM was Sir Alec Douglas-Home who died aged 93 in October 1995.

The average age of death of Labour MPs is 67, Conservative’s 71 years.

In the past 25 years at least 9 Labour MPs have died of heart attacks and heart failure and 9 from cancer. This compares to the figures for Conservative MPs – around 4 have died of heart attacks and 3 from cancer. Two Tory MPs were suffering from Alzheimer’s at death compared to 0 amongst Labour. There has been one Tory death from alcoholic intoxification. Both parties have suffered one death by suicide each.

Politicians who have suffered heart problems include Michael Heseltine, who was President of the Board of Trade when he suffered a heart attack in 1993; Chris Patten, then Governor of Hong Kong, had heart surgery and more recently Tony Blair, aged 53, underwent surgery last year for supraventricular tachycardia, a disturbance of the heart rhythm.

Tory women MPs die earlier than female Labour MPs – 64/79

Harley Street stress and lifestyle counsellor Julie Langton-Smith said: “Stress is one of the biggest problems today, lack of sleep, poor diet and toxin overload contributes to an early demise. For MP’s these problems are far worse due to the speed with which they live their lives, constantly on the go and all hours. Social interaction with members of the public, trying to please everyone, making decisions, worrying about their media image, dealing with masses of paperwork, staying up late and having poor quality of sleep.

“Our bodies, whether you are an MP or Joe Bloggs, can only take a certain amount of pressure. Stress weakens the immune system which is why MPs suffer so many illnesses where the immune system is weakened such as heart disease and cancer. The body’ss correct chemistry has broken down can lead to increased acid levels causing poor digestion, indigestion, heart burn even inflammation of the joints. Health starts at cellular level and if MPs ignore this then it will lead to all sorts of health problems including depression, insomnia, mood swings, palpitations etc.”