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
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
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

Tradewind Recruitment: KS2 Teacher

Negotiable: Tradewind Recruitment: My client is a two form entry primary schoo...

Tradewind Recruitment: English Teacher

Negotiable: Tradewind Recruitment: My client is an excellent, large partially ...

Tradewind Recruitment: Science Teacher

£90 - £140 per day: Tradewind Recruitment: I am currently working in partnersh...

Tradewind Recruitment: Year 3 Primary Teacher

£100 - £150 per day: Tradewind Recruitment: Year 3 Teacher Birmingham Jan 2015...

Day In a Page

Isis hostage crisis: The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power

Isis hostage crisis

The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power, says Robert Fisk
Missing salvage expert who found $50m of sunken treasure before disappearing, tracked down at last

The runaway buccaneers and the ship full of gold

Salvage expert Tommy Thompson found sunken treasure worth millions. Then he vanished... until now
Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Maverick artist Grayson Perry backs our campaign
Assisted Dying Bill: I want to be able to decide about my own death - I want to have control of my life

Assisted Dying Bill: 'I want control of my life'

This week the Assisted Dying Bill is debated in the Lords. Virginia Ironside, who has already made plans for her own self-deliverance, argues that it's time we allowed people a humane, compassionate death
Move over, kale - cabbage is the new rising star

Cabbage is king again

Sophie Morris banishes thoughts of soggy school dinners and turns over a new leaf
11 best winter skin treats

Give your moisturiser a helping hand: 11 best winter skin treats

Get an extra boost of nourishment from one of these hard-working products
Paul Scholes column: The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him

Paul Scholes column

The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him
Frank Warren column: No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans

Frank Warren's Ringside

No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans
Isis hostage crisis: Militant group stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

Isis stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

The jihadis are being squeezed militarily and economically, but there is no sign of an implosion, says Patrick Cockburn
Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action

Virtual reality: Seeing is believing

Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action
Homeless Veterans appeal: MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’

Homeless Veterans appeal

MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’ to help
Larry David, Steve Coogan and other comedians share stories of depression in new documentary

Comedians share stories of depression

The director of the new documentary, Kevin Pollak, tells Jessica Barrett how he got them to talk
Has The Archers lost the plot with it's spicy storylines?

Has The Archers lost the plot?

A growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent over the rural soap's spicy storylines; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried, says Simon Kelner
English Heritage adds 14 post-war office buildings to its protected lists

14 office buildings added to protected lists

Christopher Beanland explores the underrated appeal of these palaces of pen-pushing
Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Scientists unearthed the cranial fragments from Manot Cave in West Galilee