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Parliament won’t exempt own bars from 10pm curfew after backlash

Written by on 28 September 2020

Parliament has decided to restrict alcohol sales on its premises, after outrage when it emerged it did not have to follow the 10pm curfew imposed on pubs and bars.

Initially, The Times reported licenced premises on the estate could stay open after the deadline because they were counted as “workplace canteens” for politicians working late into the night.

But the news sparked a fierce backlash, with MPs describing the move as “outrageous”, “nonsense” and “appalling”.

George Freeman, a former Tory minister, warned: “This sort of thing is what brings parliament into disrepute.”

And another source told Sky News it was “tone deaf”, given the new rule for hospitality businesses in England and Wales that came into force last week.

Bars are now required to shut at 10pm sharp

Parliamentary authorities then decided alcohol “will not be sold after 10pm”.

They added catering facilities will stay open later when debates are still going later “to serve food for those still working”.

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There are many bars dotted around the estate for Westminster workers, but they closed when the coronavirus pandemic broke out.

However The Times reported that five – the Members’ Dining Room, Adjournment, Smoking Room, Terrace Pavilion and Pugin Room – have started serving drinks again.

Monday is the first time parliament has sat late since the new restrictions for bars came into force, so it is understood no alcohol has yet been sold yet on the estate.

In the House of Lords, one venue that served drink and food after 10pm has decided to cease in line with the curfew.