Sunday, 14 November 2010

No Common Sense

According to the Daily Mail, MPs were under fire last night for wasting taxpayers’ cash on a £500-a-day ‘Commons food-taster’ to ensure Westminster’s restaurants are up to scratch. They have drafted in the food consultant to run the rule over the Palace’s catering. Hospitality expert Jon Hewett will work on a daily rate as an adviser to the Commons administration committee. Sources were unable to confirm what Mr Hewett would be paid but insiders estimated he would receive the £500-a-day fee.

The move comes amid furious complaints from some MPs that Commons food is now ‘overpriced’ and ‘literally uneatable’, with ex-Labour Cabinet Minister Bob Ainsworth even calling for the entire operation to be privatised as ‘it could not be worse’.

But last night, the decision to pay an outside consultant to advise on Commons food was condemned as ‘ludicrous’. One senior MP told The Mail on Sunday: ‘It is ridiculous to bring in some outside food-taster to advise us on what the soup tastes of and whether the meals in the Palace are value for money.’

MPs have been up in arms since the summer when prices for the notoriously cheap Commons food were increased to save £500,000. A bacon roll in Portcullis House that used to cost £1.30 is now £1.90. MPs are also livid over the new ‘all or as little as you can eat’ £15 flat fee for up to three courses introduced in the MPs’ dining room.

According to the job brief, Mr Hewett, from leading hospitality consultancy EP Business Evolution, will receive a ‘per diem allowance for the work, which is expected to require a few hours per week until the early spring of 2011’.

A spokesman for the committee insisted it was ‘normal’ for Commons select committees to draft in expert outside advice and dismissed the idea that Mr Hewett would be ‘going round, tasting the soup and saying more salt is needed’.

MPs have vented their fury about the catering to the committee, with Lib Dem MP Lorely Burt complaining that ‘several of my colleagues, including at least one Minister of State, have now boycotted the dining room’.

Millionaire Tory Margot James complained of ‘a very specific flinty style of Chardonnay’ which was ‘frankly acidic’.


  1. my heart bleeds for them. aww poor babies, the Charonnay isn't up to snuff. Meanwhile how much and what are UK's homeless eating? What is the quality of the food being served in hospitals and homeless shelters?
    Cry sweet babies cry for your supper.

    (can you see the dripping sarcasm?)

    Libby who lives in a Canadian city where there the living wage is $13/hour, minimum wage is $8.80/hour and a small apartment costs $900/month and more. Stats say only 10.5% of the population is paid under the living wage. Yeah, my heart really bleeds for you MPs.

  2. perhaps they should have hospital food or school meals...well, if it is good enough for patients and kids, why not?

  3. Chris in Melbourne18 November 2010 at 19:42

    Oh, the poor dears!
    Margot was obviously looking for a wine that impressed in it's youth, and something that was bright crisp and generous, something long green and sprightly.
    And instead got served a shocking white, hard acidity, hard fruit, no generosity and had to quickly settle for something slightly beery.

    Waiter, bring me the whine list immediately!

  4. In the real world a decent bacon roll will cost anything between £1.75 to nearly 3 quid, especially in the west end of London, so tough titty on having to pay £1.90. How many working folk can afford the time in a normal day for a 3 course lunch? With wine? In the consruction industry if you come back late smelling of alcohol you're sent down the road. These tits make my blood boil!

  5. "flinty style" and "acidic". If you have a quick gander at 'openly lesbian' Ms James' physog on Google images you may well conclude that these descriptions could apply to her.

    I mean that in a caring way, of course.

  6. I can feel the caring all the way over here in Alberta talwin...along with the whine list. There must be some handbook politicians get on how to be arrogant and faux highbrow.