The sale of alcohol has been banned in the House of Commons - here’s why

Friday, 16th October 2020, 10:43 am

The sale of alcohol has been banned in all House of Commons bars and restaurants. 

Speaker Lindsey Hoyle has revealed that the measure would come into effect on Saturday 17 October, and would apply whether food was served or not. 

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Though alcohol can still be served in London, the speaker said that he thought it was fitting to introduce the ban in order to bring Westminster "in line with the national picture.”

Strict Tier 3 measures currently prevent the sale of alcohol in parts of England, unless the order is accompanied by food. 

What did the Speaker say? 

Lindsey Hoyle introduced the measures on Thursday (16 Oct) night, revealing that they would come into force two days later.

He said, “Following the government’s decision to move London into the Tier 2 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.”

10pm curfew 

Parliament last month declared it would not serve alcohol past 10pm, after it controversially emerged that its bars and restaurants could remain open 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.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock was also forced to deny claims in the Mail on Sunday that he broke the Government’s Covid drinking curfew during a late night in Parliament.

The Cabinet minister’s spokesman earlier this month insisted allegations that Mr Hancock stayed drinking in a Commons bar beyond 10pm were untrue.