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Year of the salad for British MPs

Stodge is out and salads are in for members of Britain's Parliament in 1984. Charles Irving, chairman of the House of Commons' catering committee, plans to lighten the atmosphere as well as the menus in the House of Commons dining rooms in the coming year.

One of his ideas is to have pianists playing background music as members of Parliament chew their way through supper.

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Mr. Irving is also putting more salads, lean meat, and fresh fruit onto Westminster menus.

In future, MPs will be able to choose from a range of light dishes in addition to the steak and kidney pudding, Irish stew, and shepherd's pie that have sustained parliamentarians down the ages.

Initial reaction to Irving's plan for lighter dining has been favorable.

Geoffrey Dickens, a fellow member of Parliament who weighs in at more than 260 pounds, called it ''a splendid idea.''

He admitted that many parliamentarians were getting too portly.

But some MPs stressed they would not like traditional fare to disappear from Commons dining tables completely.

One said: ''I happen to love spotted dick. I also like my treacle pudding with oodles of treacle. I would not like my constituents to think I have a lean and hungry look.''

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