Outrage as Lords guzzle bottles of champagne at taxpayers expense

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Data shows the wealthy unelected members of the House of Lords glugged up to 214 bottles – which were also sold to members of the public – of luxury booze in the taxpayer-funded upper chamber throughout the year. It comes just weeks after they were left outraged by a cut to their £323 daily allowance to £162 due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The daily payment is made for those who “actively participate” in debates, as part of the changed response to Parliament’s working hours.

A stark Freedom of Information request (FOI) seen by Express.co.uk reveals 214 bottles were sold throughout 2020.

These include the House’s own brand Champagne that sells for £50 a bottle, bottles of prosecco and an even pricier HOL Vintage Champagne.

The FOI data requested by Nicola Sturgeon’s SNP and shown to this website reveal at least 50 of the Upper Chamber’s bottles of bubbly from its bars and restaurants were sold for £50 each.

Of their own-brand champagne, the figures reveal the wealthy peers can also purchase a 125ml glass for £9.10.

SNP MSP Rona Mackay accused the Lords of “living the life of Riley at the taxpayers’ expense” making clear the upper chamber should be scrapped.

She added: “Voters will be absolutely fizzing that while thousands of people across Scotland are struggling to just make ends meet, due to the financial impact of this pandemic, these unelected cronies have been guzzling hundreds of bottles of luxury booze.

“The fact that these Lords, who nobody voted for, have been living the life of Riley at the taxpayers’ expense, while at the same time pleading poverty and begging for a hardship fund, will make voters sick.

“These Lords are out of control and even more members of the privileged elite, like Baroness Davidson, will be down to join them very shortly as their numbers surge.

“The Westminster system isn’t fit for purpose – it’s time to pull the brakes on this gravy train and abolish the Lords for good.”

Duncan Simpson, research director at the Taxpayers Alliance told Express.co.uk UK taxpayers should not be footing the bill so Unelected peers could get “tanked.”

He added: “Their Lordships getting tanked up at a time of national crisis is peculiar behaviour.

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“When you consider the large number of peers who have worked from home over the last nine months, this total seems even more bizarre.

“In future, all taxpayer subsidies for Lords and Commons bars and restaurants should be scrapped and members should pay the market price for any drinks and food they buy.”

It comes as former Scottish Tory leader Ruth Davidson is due to take up a seat in the House of Lords after receiving a resettlement grant of £53,725 as she steps down from Holyrood next May.

However, the House of Lords defended the work of the House branding the Nationalists characterisation of the peers “unfair”.

 

A House of Lords spokesman told Express.co.uk: “It is wrong to say Members of the House of Lords have drunk 214 bottles of sparkling wine this year.

“As the figures make clear most of those bottles were sold between January and March when the House was still operating external banqueting events, meaning most will have been sold to members of the public attending those events while visiting Parliament.

“Currently, no alcohol is served in House of Lords catering outlets.

“The characterisation of members of the House is also unfair.

“The House is a busy and effective revising chamber and has continued to hold the Government to account during the pandemic.”


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