Congressman campaigns in pyjamas to advertise frugal office sofa sleeping arrangements

By Alex Spillius, The Telegragh

With deficit-reduction a major issue, Pete Hoekstra, a Republican from Michigan, has decided to highlight the fact that for 18 years he has saved his constituents money by not renting a flat in the US capital.

“I didn’t go to Washington to get comfortable,” he says in the internet advertisement, sitting on a sofa in plaid nightwear.

“In DC I am watching your pennies and mine, that’s why Newt Gingrich [the former House Speaker] said ‘Pete, you could make a penny squeal’.”

A former marketing executive, Mr Hoekstra, 56, is known for his innovative campaigning. He is currently embarked on a periodic “100 jobs” tour of his midwestern state, in which he will briefly perform 100 different jobs in a bid to understand ordinary workers’ concerns. He has already changed a car’s engine oil, scooped ice cream and sold lettuce at a farmers’ market.

Aiming to replace the current Democratic governor Jennifer Granholm in the Nov 2 election, he is also halfway through a pledge to cycle 1,000 miles around Michigan to meet voters. His manifesto includes scrapping the Michigan business tax and the personal property tax.

A number of other Republicans sleep in their congressional offices, using a variety of inflatable mattresses, camp beds and fold-away sofas and taking their washing home at the weekends.

Last month MPs were warned by Malcolm Jack, the clerk of the House of Commons, that they were not allowed to sleep in their offices due to health and safety rules.

A handful of MPs were sleeping at work to save money in the wake of the MPs’ expenses scandal.

Laura Moffatt, Labour MP for Crawley until the last election, said she gave up her London flat and slept in her office because she was no longer comfortable claiming second home allowances.

But Mr Jack said it could prevent the emergency services from evacuating the Palace of Westminster in the event of a fire.

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