John Bercow’s attempt to call time on Westminster’s hard-drinking culture was in tatters last night after plans for a total ‘no-alcohol’ policy for Commons staff were ditched.
The Speaker has taken action to curb excessive drinking at the Commons after Labour MP Eric Joyce assaulted colleagues in a Westminster bar. Waiters are now told to top up glasses less frequently and provide more non-alcoholic drinks.
But radical plans to tackle consumption among parliamentary staff – by banning drinking at work – have now been scrapped by Commons managers.
In stormy meetings, rank-and-file workers complained the ban would not apply to MPs, saying: ‘Staff are being penalised because of the actions of drunk MPs.’Incredible, isn't it?
This is the same collection of 650 besuited individuals who - in recent years - have installed an immensely damaging alcohol duty escalator; have encouraged local authorities to issue contracts with drug and alcohol at work policies attached (as in, suppliers must pledge to prohibit their employees from enjoying a lunchtime pint); are currently consulting on minimum alcohol pricing; and have raised the possibility of plain packaging for alcohol.
Now they have the brass neck to try to impose a teetotal regime on Westminster staff ... while at no time ever considering applying any such restrictions to themselves.
Truly they must be superhuman. Just the feat of being elected to parliament renders alcohol harmless to their system and - unlike the other 60 odd million of us, obviously - perfectly capable of making their own free choices.
What unutterable bastards we suffer running this country, eh?