An unpaid bill of around pounds 1,500 left staff at Majestic Wines telling the foreign affairs team that their business was temporarily unwelcome.
The drinks were being sought for a reception by Mr Howard for foreign journalists at the party's Central Office in Smith Square, Westminster.
A party source was quoted as saying: "In the end we had to go to Victoria Wine in Marsham Street, where they don't know us." A party spokesman last night blamed it on an "oversight". "Obviously we meant to pay off all monies outstanding but there appeared to be a mistake on our behalf," he said. The accounts department would settle the bill "forthwith".
John Prescott, the Deputy Prime Minister said: "William Hague's leadership is enough to drive anyone to drink. Now we know we he hasn't got the bottle to take on Michael Howard and John Redwood - he can't afford one."Reuse content