Eric Pickles 'calls time' on pub for MPs


The public "don't want to see politicians guzzle cheap beer at their expense", Eric Pickles said last night as he announced he had "called time" on a subsidised bar in his own department.

The Communities Secretary said the authorities "should take note" days after Falkirk MP Eric Joyce was arrested by police following an alleged brawl at a popular bar within Parliament.

He told Tory party activists at their spring conference in London that he was going to shut down a bar selling cut-price booze in the Department for Communities and Local Government's London headquarters.

In his speech, he said: "Backed up by secret subsidies, it charges just £1.90 for a small bottle of Chardonnay. That's what I call minimum pricing. Now we're the department in charge of supporting community pubs. But there are eight licensed premises within 30 seconds of our front door, so why do we need a government pub?"

Mr Joyce yesterday used his blog to deny he was an alcoholic, adding: "I am not broken, tortured, lonely or tormented."