MPs Broke 10pm Curfew Rules In Parliament's Smoking Room Bar
An independent inquiry has confirmed that MPs broke the government’s curfew rules after they were seen drinking past 10pm in the Houses of Parliament.
The inquiry determined that a number of politicians stayed in the ‘Smoking Room’ bar past the required closing time on 5 October.
The chair of the Commons Administration Committee, Charles Walker, confirmed the findings, however, names of those involved were not disclosed.
He said: “It happened and it should not have happened… it does seem there were drinks being consumed after 10pm on that Monday night in the Smoking Room.”
It had been alleged that Health Secretary Matt Hancock had been seen drinking in the bar after curfew, though he has since denied these claims.
A spokesperson for Mr Hancock said he ‘departed the parliamentary estate to go home’ after having taken part in the Commons vote at 9.40pm.
The Speaker of The House Lindsay Hoyle has now banned the sale of alcohol in the Commons.
He said: “Following the government’s decision to move London into the tier 2 Covid alert category, I have asked the parliamentary authorities to introduce measures to bring the House of Commons into line with the national picture.
“As MPs represent different constituencies in different tiers – with the very highest level ordering the closure of pubs – I have decided to stop the sale of alcohol across the House of Commons end of the estate from this Saturday.
“This means it will not be possible to buy an alcoholic drink from any of our catering outlets for the foreseeable future, whether food is served or not.”
This comes as police cracked down on drinkers in London who were caught flouting the 10pm curfew.
Officers were seen arresting several people in Soho on Friday night (16 October).
Last week, the government announced London would enter Tier 2 lockdown measures from midnight last Friday (16 October).
Under Tier 2, households cannot mix indoors – with the exception of support bubbles. The Rule of Six will also continue to apply outdoors and in private gardens.
Speaking about the new rules, Deputy Assistant Commissioner Matt Twist, the Met’s lead for the Covid-19 crisis, told the Evening Standard that it was vital people cooperated with them, but warned that officers would be enforcing the measures.
He said: “This is a critical moment in London’s fight against this deadly virus.
“Frustratingly, we have seen a small number of dangerous and reckless breaches of the regulations and as the alert level in London increases, we are adopting our policing approach.
“Communities across London can therefore expect to see an increase in our efforts to deal with the most deliberate, harmful and flagrant breaches of regulations.”