The bars at Parliament have played host to many scenes over the years – plots, arguments, merriment and even fisticuffs – but rarely to an empty house. But for much of Covid, the watering holes of Westminster have been remained closed, in line with government guidance.
And now Mr S has found that the restoration of our liberties and the collapse of Covid cases has failed to prompt a surge in sales; sobering news when one considers how some within the estate are itching to close its taverns. A list of the top 100 bar items sold between January to July reveals a dismal return of 2,967 items sold for an estate which employs approximately 3,000 people. Clearly, many are still reluctant to shed virtual working and mix in the fleshpots of SW1.
The Carlsberg pint came top with 220 sales, followed in the silver and bronze by its Guiness and Stella counterparts, with pipers cheddar crisps and Diet Coke breaking into the top ten too. Some MPs appear to have rejected the abstemious approach of other colleagues judging by the 21 Pimms jugs ordered while seven punters splashed out on the Commons' own brand of champagne gardet. But even these traditional symbols of conspicuous consumption – typically enjoyed on the terraces – were surpassed by the 22 cups of tea and eight fruit cakes sold. So much for being inebriated with the exuberance of their own verbosity.
With the restoration of access to non-passholders in the coming weeks, Steerpike looks forward to playing his part in ensuring the continued future financial viability of Parliament's finest establishments.