Parliament Bars Were Exempted from Coronavirus Curfew — Before Govt U-Turned After Public Outrage

LONON, ENGLAND - JULY 10: Boris Johnson, a leadership candidate for Britain's Conservative Party visits Wetherspoons Metropolitan Bar to meet with with JD Wetherspoon chairman, Tim Martin on July 10, 2019 in London, England. (Photo by Henry Nicholls WPA Pool/Getty Images)
Henry Nicholls WPA Pool/Getty Images

The House of Commons has removed the exemption for MPs to drink past the nationwide curfew of 10 pm in Parliament’s bars, amidst widespread public outrage over the apparent double standards for politicians.

On Monday, the bars in the British Parliament were revealed to have fallen under the “workplace canteen” exemption to the draconian coronavirus restrictions, meaning that staff and customers did not need to abide by mask requirements or contact tracing, with MPs only being advised to refrain from indulging if they display symptoms of the China virus.

A House of Commons spokeswoman told The Times that bars and other hospitality areas within Parliament were indeed exempt from the 10 pm curfew as well as the other restrictions by which the British public must abide.

In response to the apparent double standards, Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage said: “Clearly, we are not all in this together. Many will be very angry about this.”

Youth Brexit campaigner and political commentator Darren Grimes added: “What brain dead moron couldn’t see any issue with it been one rule for them and quite another for the rest of us?”

Following the backlash, Parliament decided to scrap the exemptions for MPs and government workers, banning the sale of alcohol after 10 pm to conform to the restrictions to which everyone else in England is subjected.

A Parliamentary spokesman told the BBC on Monday that “alcohol will not be sold after 10 pm anywhere on the parliamentary estate”.

Starting on September 24th, Prime Minister Boris Johnson decreed that the entire hospitality industry, including bars, pubs, and restaurants, would be prohibited from operating past 10 pm to supposedly slow the spread of the coronavirus.

On Monday, it was revealed that pubs and restaurants were responsible for just three per cent of all new infections in the week leading up to the introduction of the new lockdown measures.

The data showed that over two-thirds of all new cases were connected to care homes and schools.

The curfew has already had a massive economic impact on bar districts in London, with popular late-night hotspots in Soho and Shoreditch reporting revenue losses of as much 60 per cent.

As a result of the curfew, the Milk and Honey pub — a four-time winner of the World’s Best Bar award — announced that it was forced to close for good.

The owner of the pub, Jonathan Downey, told the Evening Standard that the curfew was “the final straw for us, there’s no way back, after 18 years, the curfew has killed us off”.

“The whole sector is basically trading while insolvent. All of hospitality is getting disproportionately shafted. We produce COVID-secure environments but the government would apparently rather have people dancing in the streets in Leicester Square,” the owner of the Adventure Bar group, Jonathan Kidd, added.

Despite the economic damage and the apparent lack of evidence that pubs are spreading the virus, there are increasing calls for the government to ban the sale of alcohol in shops after nine o’clock to avoid people gathering on the street to drink after leaving the pubs.

John Apter, national chairman of the Police Federation, said that police are struggling to enforce the curfew, saying: “You might only have one or two people in a busy high street at 10 pm when hundreds and hundreds of people are coming out on to the streets.”

Columnist and coronavirus sceptic Peter Hitchens said that he hopes the backlash against the double standards on Parliament’s bars will result in public pressure to rescind the strict coronavirus regulations.

“I don’t understand how we can be governed by such inadequate people, and how the people put up with it,” Hitchens told talkRADIO on Monday, adding that the people in the government “seem to have passed an exam in stupidity”.

Follow Kurt Zindulka on Twitter here: @KurtZindulka


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