MPs are wasting millions of pounds of taxpayers' money with their own "arms race" - asking pointless questions to increase their ranking on a website, it has been claimed.
Peter Luff (pictured), the Conservative MP for Mid Worcestershire, accused colleagues of submitting meaningless questions to boost their placing on the site which claims to show how hard they work.
They were motivated by the popularity of www.theyworkforyou.com. The website publishes "performance data" based partly on how many questions MPs have asked.
Some MPs had responded by deluging Ministers with questions, which were actually drawn up by their researchers, said Mr Luff.
Five years ago, MPs asked an average of 302 written questions every day.
But by last year, this had almost doubled to 596, he said.
It means that written Parliamentary questions are now costing the taxpayer an estimated #84,624 every single day.
The cost represents the price of paying civil servants to ferret out the answers for Ministers.
Written questions, and their answers, are published in Hansard, the official record of Commons debates.
Mr Luff also claimed the number of questions meant Ministers did not have time to provide comprehensive answers.
But he also accused Ministers of deliberately failing to answer questions, to prevent MPs holding them to account.
Speaking in the House of Commons, he said the final straw had come when Ministers refused to answer his questions about the abolition of tax breaks for companies which provided their staff with computers to take home.
Mr Luff was concerned about the effects the decision would have on Evesham Technology, a firm in his Worcestershire constituency.
He said: "Some MPs table long lists of questions in an attempt to appear active.
"Researchers are often drafted into helping with the task of giving the appearance of usefulness."
Mr Luff added: "Chief among the villains is a well-meaning website, www.theyworkforyou.com, which provides numerical rankings of MPs' parliamentary activity, referred to as "performance data"."
It was "misleading" to think this proved how effective MPs had been, he said.
"Numbers are a very crude indicator of effectiveness. One good question is better than 100 bad ones."
He added: "We are now in an arms race in which what can be measured will always count for more than intelligent analysis of what has been a chieved. That is very worrying."
To illustrate his point, Mr Luff used Tory leader David Cameron as an example.
He said: "The website includes the revelation that the Member for Witney has received answers to 35 written questions in the last year - 323rd out of 644 MPs.
"It also states that he has attended 36 per cent of votes in Parliament, coming 628th out of 644 MPs. Those are hardly high scores."
However, they did not reflect how busy Mr Cameron had been because of his role as Leader of the Opposition, Mr Luff said.
According to www.theyworkforyou.com, Mr Luff has received answers to 85 written questions in the last year - placing him 198th out of 644 MPs.
The website also claims he has ended a sentence with the word "with" three times in debates.