MPs don't make good voters

"Can I count on your support in the forthcoming election?"

Image caption An original campaign leaflet idea

It's the opening gambit every MP knows by heart. They've all trotted it out on innumerable doorsteps as they canvass for votes.

But now the tables have been turned. A new rule means the powerful positions of chair of House of Commons Select Committees are being decided by a secret ballot of MPs - rather than divvyed up by the party whips.

There are 25 jobs at stake. Some are unopposed such as Chichester MP Andrew Tyrie who remains in charge of the Treasury Select Committee.

Others are hotly contested. Nicola Blackwood of Oxford West and Abingdon is head-to-head with Bracknell's Phillip Lee.

They've even taken to giving out election leaflets - some highly original ones, like this on a leaf, left in a tea room.

At the beginning it all seemed very fresh and modern. But now it's becoming tiring. The hunters are the hunted, canvassers have had the tables turned and everywhere an MP goes a candidate stops them with a new voting plea.

Newbury MP Richard Benyon summed up the mood of desperation when I stopped to talk to him in the MPs' office hub, Portcullis House.

"Over there, he's at it. And him. And her." Pointing around the glass atrium he picked out nearly a dozen people engaged in seemingly casual encounters, actually trying to win an extra vote.

He is himself one of the candidates, hoping to chair the Defence Committee, but Benyon says MPs are starting to feel a little "over schmoozed."

"People who have never given you the time of day approach you and comment on the sheer brilliance of a speech they once heard you make in the committee stage of some long forgotten bill many years ago."

"It is relentless. Thank God it will all be over on 17 June."

So now they know what it feels like to be a voter!