This new policy is expected to take effect in the fall and will apply to House of Commons staff, including librarians, clerks, and a variety of other positions, not to include Members of Parliament [MP] .
The new approach is part of a new initiative and effort to mitigate what has been referred to as heavy drinking among Members of the House of Commons. Although the new policy will not apply to MPs, the highly controversial public incidents that have led to this new approach have mainly involved MPs.
Case in point, months ago Labor MP Eric Joyce was heavily fined for his involvement in a fight at a House of Commons bar. It was alleged that after consuming a number alcoholic beverages Mr. Joyce attacked four fellow colleagues, all politicians.
During a 2010 incident, Paul Farrelly, another Labor MP was alleged to have been involved in a fight with a vendor of newspapers while intoxicated or otherwise under the influence of alcohol. He was at the Palace of Westminster inside a bar having a drink when the altercation began.
Other reported incidents involve MPs drinking so much alcohol at their lunches that they have fell asleep during House debates.
At the start of the year speaker of the House of Commons John Bercow revealed that an increasing number of staff and MPs are receiving treatment for what is described as alcoholism.
As mentioned earlier while the new policy will apply to staff of the Parliamentary, Members of Parliament are exempt as well as their secretaries and researchers. As one can imagine staff are outraged and exclaim that the new policy is unfair, perhaps even tantamount to a double standard. As a result of the predictable outcries regarding the new policy staff at the House of Commons are expected to meet with management in the coming week to discuss their concerns.
Meanwhile, a statement released by a spokesperson of the House of Commons reveals that although the new alcohol policy has been put into writing all the details are yet to be finalized. The report indicates that this new approach is an effort to not only increase efficiency and maximize employee potential but is also expected to encapsulate employees in a safe and healthy work environment.
At the time of writing this article the House of Commons operates at least four bars on its property, as well as several canteens and restaurants that serve alcohol.
As a result of the many recent controversial and high profile incidents, speaker of the House of Commons Bercow is implementing procedures to mitigate the amount of alcohol being consumed on the parliamentary property. For instance, catering employees have been informed to decrease the volume of alcohol at parliamentary events. They are expected to receive training so that they may better recognize when an MP and or staff member is intoxicated and therefore decline to serve them more alcohol.
With all that said, the proposed alcohol policy is currently under revision and a report is expected to be released shortly regarding all changes.
Photo courtesy of telegraph.co.uk
- Item Tag: alcohol