'Unhealthy' drinking culture among British MPs: Survey

Last Updated 17 May 2013, 13:23 IST

Grabbing a drink at one of many Parliament bars or pubs down the road is common practice among many UK parliamentarians but now some of them fear this seemingly harmless British pastime may be getting out of hand.

A quarter of MPs believe there is an "unhealthy" culture of drinking in Parliament, a new survey has suggested.

Of the 150 MPs who responded to a poll for charity Alcohol Concern, 26 per cent thought their colleagues drank too much. It also suggested that 1.33 million pounds was spent in the nine bars at the House of Commons in the year to March 2011.

A spokesman for the Commons said action had been taken in 2012 to do more to promote responsible drinking, including fewer top-ups and more soft drinks.

Alcohol Concern's survey suggested that 31 per cent of Labour MPs, 20 per cent of Conservatives and 19 per cent of Liberal Democrats thought their colleagues drank too much and the charity called for a change in drinking habits among politicians at Westminster.

"If a quarter of employees reported an unhealthy drinking culture in any other organisation it would provoke immediate action by bosses," said Alcohol Concern chief executive Eric Appleby.

"Surely it's time for Parliament to rethink its drinking culture and lead by example," he added.
Earlier this year, Falkirk MP Eric Joyce was banned from buying alcohol in Parliament following his arrest over an alleged drunken brawl in a Commons bar.

In 2011, Conservative MP Sarah Wollaston had said many of her colleagues "drink heavily" and called for a change in the drinking culture at Westminster

(Published 17 May 2013, 13:23 IST)

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