Health Secretary Matt Hancock has been accused of breaking Covid curfew rules by drinking in The Smoking Room bar in the House of Commons after 10pm.
However Mr Hancock has since denied breaching the government’s curfew in the House of Commons bar by drinking after time. His spokesperson insists he did not break any rules after the Mail on Sunday quoted a “senior Tory MP” who claimed Mr Hancock remained in the bar drinking wine until at least 10.25pm last Monday.
The Smoking Room bar in the House of Commons where Health Secretary Matt Hancock has been accused of breaking Covid curfew rules by drinking after 10pm – pictured here in July 2018 as MPs cheer England winning the World Cup penalty shootout 4-3 against Columbia
House of Commons bars are now subject to the same rules as other English pubs and are legally required to close at 10pm with people off the premises by this time. Commons venues were exempt from following the same rules because they are classed as “workplace canteens.”
The Smoking Room bar in the House of Commons shown on July 3 2018 after England win the World Cup penalty shootout 4-3 against Columbia
Speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle put a stop to the Commons bars exemptions and said that parliament must follow the same rules following a backlash over the exception.
The Mail online reports Matt Hancock arrived at the bar just before a 9.40pm vote, ordered a glass of House of Commons Colombard Sauvignon Blanc white wine and joked: “The drinks are on me – but Public Health England are in charge of the payment methodology so I will not be paying anything.” He then remained in the Smoking Room bar until at least 10.25pm.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock, shown here performing karaoke of Queen’s “Don’t Stop Me Now” alongside Works and Pensions Secretary Therese Coffey in resurfaced video posted on Twitter @dinosofos
In a statement, the Health Secretary’s spokesperson said that “no rules have been broken”.
“The Secretary of State left the Smoking Room to vote. The vote took place at 9:42pm. The Secretary of State then departed the Parliamentary estate to go home”.
When questioned for more detail on whether Mr Hancock had returned to the bar after voting and before going home, there was no response from the spokesperson.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock is said to have drunk a glass of House of Commons Colombard Sauvignon Blanc after the 10pm curfew – a bottle is shown on sale here for £9.95 at www.shop.parliament.uk
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