MPs will be banned from drinking alcohol after 10pm after Parliamentary authorities performed a swift U-turn on plans to exempt its bars and restaurants early pub 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.
The decision came after a furious backlash at plans to let Parliament’s own bars and restaurants stay open late – despite pub lockdowns across the country.
The House of Commons authorities had promised to keep the arrangements under review but a source told the paper it was “a massive own goal”.
The decision 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.”
Labour MP Rupa Huq said: “Hypocritical Parliament follows no rules that everyone else must.
“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.
“Clear case of ‘do as I say, not as I do.'”
Wes Streeting, the Ilford North MP, posted on Twitter : “This is ridiculous and makes Parliament look ridiculous. This has got to change immediately.
“We can’t have one rule for Parliament and one rule for everyone else.”
And Tory MP Robert Largan blasted the decision as “ridiculous”.
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.