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MPs still able to drink alcohol in Houses of Parliament despite Commons ban

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House of Commons and Palace of Westminster next to Thames river in London.
The Houses of Parliament in London (Picture: Getty)

MPs will still be able to drink alcohol in the Houses of Parliament, despite the ban on bars serving it in the House of Commons.

Speaker Lindsay Hoyle announced that six bars would stop serving alcohol on the parliamentary estate from Saturday.

But the House of Lords confirmed today that four of its venues will remain able to serve alcohol to MPs until 10pm.

A spokesperson for the House of Lords told Metro.co.uk: ‘We do not currently plan to ban the sale of alcohol– a restriction that is not required under tier-2 or tier-3 rules – but that will remain under close review.

‘As now, alcohol will not be sold after 10pm. The bars we closed in the spring remain closed and we have no plans to reopen them.’

The venues that are currently open in the House of Lords that serve alcohol are The River Restaurant, Peers’ Dining room, Peers’ Guest Room and Millbank Cafeteria.

A terrace bar in Parliament
Alcohol will not be sold from Saturday in the House of Commons bars (Picture: Craig Hibbert)

Of these, which are all accessible by MPs, the Peers Guest Room is a bar while the others are canteens or restaurants.

Since March, The Woolsack, The River Restaurant Bar, The Bishops Bar and The Barry Room in the House of Lords, which previously sold alcohol, have been closed.

The House of Lords spokesman added: ‘Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic the House of Lords has sought to follow the public health guidance and scientific advice on how to keep everyone on the Parliamentary estate as safe as possible.

‘In line with that, the House of Lords will comply with the tier two restrictions due to come into force in London, including ensuring in catering venues that tables and seats are arranged as single places to avoid people from different households mixing. This is what catering venues in tier two areas up and down the country will be doing and will be following suit.

‘Face coverings, social distancing, hand washing and cleaning measures are in place to keep everyone safe as members continue their work checking and challenging the government as this critical time in the life of the nation.’

It comes after it controversially emerged that Parliament’s bars and restaurants could remain open after 10pm due to an exemption in the coronavirus rules.

Officials moved quickly to close the loophole when it was disclosed that MPs, lords and parliamentary staff could legally continue drinking past the deadline in the Palace of Westminster, because its establishments are classed as workplace canteens.

Announcing further restrictions on sale of alcohol on the House of Commons estate from tomorrow, Sir Lindsay Hoyle said: ‘Following the Government’s decision to move London into the Tier Two Covid alert category, I have asked the parliamentary authorities to introduce measures to bring the House of Commons into line with the national picture.

‘As MPs represent different constituencies in different tiers – with the very highest level ordering the closure of pubs – I have decided to stop the sale of alcohol across the House of Commons end of the estate from this Saturday.

‘This means it will not be possible to buy an alcoholic drink from any of our catering outlets for the foreseeable future – whether food is served or not. ‘The House of Commons Commission will be meeting on Monday to consider other measures needed to protect MPs, their staff and House staff, while maintaining our Covid-secure status.’

Get in touch with our news team by emailing us at webnews@metro.co.uk.

For more stories like this, check our news page.

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