First it was drugs, then it was the press. Now Lindsay Hoyle and the grandees on the House of Commons Commission have turned their guns on the demon drink in a bid to restore parliament's reputation. They are seeking to end the age-old tradition of 'Thirsty Thursdays' in the Palace of Westminster, whereby staff enjoy the freedom of the place while their bosses return to their constituencies for weekend meetings with voters.
For now changes have been announced today to restrict the access to Strangers' Bar by the Thames: the favoured watering hole of thirsty MPs who fancy a quick snifter between votes. From tomorrow, the bar will close at 8 p.m on a Thursday before a non-sitting Friday; on the day before a sitting Friday it will now shut at 10 p.m. No non-pass holders will be admitted to the bar on any day, unless they are the guests of MPs, who can bring in up to three guests.
Steerpike's inbox has been filled with rage and consternation from distressed staffers and journalists, horrified at the end of an era which saw them spending up to £10,000 a week in the estate's bars. Many of them were enjoying the hospitality of the terrace just last night at a drinks reception for the parliamentary press gallery. Who knew that would be the last hurrah? A House of Commons spokesman told Mr S that:
“Due to a large volume of non-passholders using the Strangers Bar in recent months, with resulting pressures on parliamentary staff running the venue, the Administration Committee and the House of Commons Commission have agreed a small number of changes to access rules to ensure a comfortable experience for all staff and users of the venue.
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