Champagne sales in House of Lords reach highest level for five years
Champagne sales in the House of Lords rose to the highest level for five years last year, with almost £90,000 worth of fizz sold in 2023.
Figures released under Freedom of Information showed that, over the course of the year, 1,589 bottles were purchased, at a total cost of £88,987.90.
The cost is up slightly from the 2022 total, when 1,580 bottles were sold at a cost of £85,462.51.
In 2020, the year Covid-19 hit the UK, sales of champagne in the House of Lords amounted to just £8,982, with only 180 bottles sold over the course of the year – part of which was spent in lockdown.
Champagne sales last year were higher than they were just before that, with 2019 seeing 1,441 bottles purchased in the House of Lords, at a cost of £69,988.80.
The SNP, which has no representatives in the House of Lords due to its opposition to the unelected second chamber, said the increasing amount spent on champagne shows the “lavish lifestyles” of peers.
SNP MP Tommy Sheppard said: “Voters will be fizzing to hear that, while they were struggling to balance household finances and pay for basics like groceries and energy, unelected Lords were glugging back champagne.
“The past year has been defined by Westminster’s cost-of-living crisis that has seen living standards plummet and countless more households pushed into poverty and deprivation – a reality alien to the Lords and their lavish lifestyles.”
The Edinburgh East MP added: “A Parliament where unelected Lords glug fizz and collect £342 a day just for showing up is not a Parliament fit to properly represent the people.
“It’s beyond clear the House of Lords is archaic and out of touch – but it forms just one small part of a wider Westminster institution that doesn’t have the best interests of the people of Scotland in mind.
“The House of Lords should be abolished, but we should also be free to pursue an alternative from Westminster as a whole as we set up an independent country with a Parliament that puts the people of Scotland first.”
But a House of Lords spokesperson said the majority of the champagne was sold in the gift shop or at events hosted by external organisations.
The spokesperson said: “All alcohol, including champagne, sold in the House of Lords is sold at a profit.
“Most of the champagne sold by the House of Lords is bought by visitors in the gift shop and consumed away from Parliament by members of the public, or sold at banqueting events to organisations or individuals hosting the event in the House of Lords.
“It is not paid for by the taxpayer.”
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