MPs will not be allowed to buy alcohol in bars and restaurants in the Palace of Westminster after 10pm
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MPs will be banned from buying alcohol after 10pm after Parliamentary authorities said its bars and restaurants would not be exempt from early closing times.
Venues serving alcohol in the Palace of Westminster were expected to be exempt from the new coronavirus rules as they qualify as “workplace canteens”, according to The Times.
But after a furious backlash, a Parliament spokesperson said: “Alcohol will not be sold after 10pm anywhere on the parliamentary estate.”
Catering facilities will remain open after that time serving food for staff working through the night.
It is unclear whether MPs will be able to continue drinking after 10pm if they have bought a round before the cut-off point.
The decision came after a furious backlash at reports that Parliament’s own bars and restaurants would be allowed to stay open late – despite pub lockdowns across the country.
The House of Commons authorities originally did not deny the story before making it clear later that Speaker Lindsay Hoyle had in fact decided last Thursday to shut Parliament’s bars in line with new rules.
The prospect of allowing Westminster’s watering holes to stay open late sparked fury from a number of MPs, while a union boss said thousands of public servants were being put at risk.
Labour’s Deputy Leader Angela Rayner tweeted: “Not good, so many in the hospitality sector on the verge of collapse or struggling to cope, they will be rightly very angry to read this.
“We should get our own house in order before demanding others follow regulations, people are fed up with this nonsense.”
“Nightly 100s of MPs queue up for over 1km with no social distancing to vote, ignoring rule of 6 and now its watering holes exempt from 10pm curfew thats killing hospitality sector.
Wes Streeting, the Ilford North MP, posted on Twitter : “This is ridiculous and makes Parliament look ridiculous. This has got to change immediately.
Dave Penman, general secretary of the FDA union, which represents parliamentary staff, said: “It’s not just the “optics” on this that are terrible (don’t judge me).
“Parliament is a workplace for thousands of public servants who are at risk of infection if rules that are meant to protect them and the MPs themselves are flouted or avoided.”
Parliament has a number of bars and restaurants for MPs, peers and Parliamentary staff to use.
Several have reopened since lockdown measures eased in the summer, including the Pugin Room, Strangers’ Dining Room, the Adjournment and the Members’ Smoking Room.
News – Chaos as Parliament says its bars aren’t exempt from 10pm curfew after backlash