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Waiters to be trained on how to refuse drink to boozed-up MPs

Staff in the House of Commons will be trained on how to refuse tipsy politicians, who will be served lower-strength drinks.

Some MPs are so drunk at work that the Palace of Westminster becomes a haze...
Some MPs are so drunk at work that the Palace of Westminster becomes a haze...
Image: Matt Dunham/AP

WAITERS AT THE four bars in the House of Commons are to be trained in how to refuse alcohol to drunken MPs, as part of moves to clamp down on what some politicians fear is a growing alcohol culture in Westminster.

The House of Commons Commission says staff in the bars will be given training and support in how to refuse to serve tipsy politicians.

The moves come after some politicians voiced fears that politicians were becoming so drunk while at work – drinking in the Commons’ four subsidised bars – that they often had no idea what they were voting on when called in for divisions.

The drinking habits of MPs were called into question last year when one novice Tory MP, Mark Reckless, admitted he was too drunk to attend a vote during last year’s debates on the UK’s Budget.

On that occasion, MPs – who were due to remain at work until 2:30am to vote on various sections of the Finance Bill 2011 – had begun drinking simply to pass the time between votes.

Rules agreed by the Commission will also see glasses “topped up less frequently” at receptions and events where alcohol is served, and a consultation with the House of Lords and other bodies on whether the opening hours of the bars should be restricted.

Further, the bars are also now to serve a wider range of non-alcoholic drinks, and will stock drinks with lower alcohol quantity, in order to ensure that MPs do not consume more alcohol than they can manage while doing their jobs.

Read: Hard times: Sales in Dáil bars fell during 2009

More: Oireachtas insists: public won’t foot the bill for Dáil bar tabs

About the author:

Gavan Reilly

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