Future of MPs' bar in doubt

THE FUTURE of Annie's Bar - the Westminster haunt famous for the late night exchange of confidences, gossip, rumour and occasional abuse between ministers, backbenchers and journalists - will be called into question in the House of Commons tomorrow.

A confidential report proposes the scrapping of the functionally furnished bar, deep in the bowels of the Palace of Westminster. Even more controversially, it also proposes food stalls to cater for tourists in the 11th-century Westminster Hall.

The report, commissioned by the House of Commons Refreshment Department, will anger some heritage enthusiasts by proposing that the Hall - one of the outstanding buildings in Britain and the only surviving part of the original Palace of Westminster - should house the stalls to cater for the huge volume of visitors to the Commons.

An interim written answer is expected on the future of Annie's Bar, out of bounds to all except accredited lobby journalists and MPs. The report says it should be replaced by a cellar wine bar for use by MPs, Commons staff and 'journalists when accompanied by a Member'.

The report, by Food Service Associates, of Henley, says the stalls in Westminster Hall are the 'favoured option'.

It says they would be 'suitably designed to complement the design of the Hall, with the design, the layout, the costume of service assistants etc, matching the period in which the Hall was used as a market place'.

The stalls would provide a catering service in the form of drinks and light snacks . . . and it would also provide a place to sell souvenirs.

They would be fully mobile so that they could be removed when the hall was needed for state occasions.

The report admits there could be a need for increased security and adds that 'another important consideration would be that regarding the provision of toilet facilities for tourists'.

The report also proposes 'rationalisation' of the menu in the Member's Dining room which would reduce its extensive a la carte provision in favour of a changing set menu with additional grill items.

This will mean higher quality food and less wastage, the report says. It also suggests replacing the present 'silver service' with a 'plated service'.

It says the latter will 'enable members to discuss matters with the House with fewer interruptions' from waiters.

The question for answer tomorrow has been submitted by Brian Wilson, MP for Cunningham North, a supporter of the plan to replace Annie's with a wine bar.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Arts and Entertainment
Louis Theroux: By Reason of Insanity takes him behind the bars again
tvBy Reason of Insanity, TV review
Arts and Entertainment
Cassetteboy's latest video is called Emperor's New Clothes rap
videoThe political parody genius duo strike again with new video
Sport
Seth Rollins cashes in his Money in the Bank contract to win the WWE World Heavyweight Championship
WWERollins win the WWE World Heavyweight title in one of the greatest WrestleMania's ever seen
News
news
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Sales Call Handler

£14500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An opportunity has arisen for a Sales Ca...

Recruitment Genius: Support Worker

£14560 - £15000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company offers unique pers...

Recruitment Genius: Junior Web Designer - Client Liaison

£6 per hour: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity to join a gro...

Recruitment Genius: Service Delivery Manager

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A Service Delivery Manager is required to join...

Day In a Page

No postcode? No vote

Floating voters

How living on a houseboat meant I didn't officially 'exist'
Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin

By Reason of Insanity

Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin
Power dressing is back – but no shoulderpads!

Power dressing is back

But banish all thoughts of Eighties shoulderpads
Spanish stone-age cave paintings 'under threat' after being re-opened to the public

Spanish stone-age cave paintings in Altamira 'under threat'

Caves were re-opened to the public
'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'

Vince Cable interview

'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'
Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

Promises, promises

But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

The death of a Gaza fisherman

He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat
Saudi Arabia's airstrikes in Yemen are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Saudi airstrikes are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Arab intervention in Yemen risks entrenching Sunni-Shia divide and handing a victory to Isis, says Patrick Cockburn
Zayn Malik's departure from One Direction shows the perils of fame in the age of social media

The only direction Zayn could go

We wince at the anguish of One Direction's fans, but Malik's departure shows the perils of fame in the age of social media
Young Magician of the Year 2015: Meet the schoolgirl from Newcastle who has her heart set on being the competition's first female winner

Spells like teen spirit

A 16-year-old from Newcastle has set her heart on being the first female to win Young Magician of the Year. Jonathan Owen meets her
Jonathan Anderson: If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

British designer Jonathan Anderson is putting his stamp on venerable house Loewe
Number plates scheme could provide a licence to offend in the land of the free

Licence to offend in the land of the free

Cash-strapped states have hit on a way of making money out of drivers that may be in collision with the First Amendment, says Rupert Cornwell
From farm to fork: Meet the Cornish fishermen, vegetable-growers and butchers causing a stir in London's top restaurants

From farm to fork in Cornwall

One man is bringing together Cornwall's most accomplished growers, fishermen and butchers with London's best chefs to put the finest, freshest produce on the plates of some of the country’s best restaurants
Robert Parker interview: The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes

Robert Parker interview

The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes
Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

We exaggerate regional traits and turn them into jokes - and those on the receiving end are in on it too, says DJ Taylor