A Bizarre Argument Has Broken Out Among MPs About Britain’s Best Spicy Sauce

Even Nick Clegg has waded into the row over the difference between Worcestershire’s Lea & Perrins and Sheffield Henderson’s Relish.

1. A battle over rival brands of spicy sauce has opened up regional divides and raised the ire of the Deputy Prime Minister.

2. It started when Jim Dowd, Labour MP for Lewisham, complained in the House of Commons about the choice of sauce in his local pub.

Brett Jordan / Creative Commons / Flickr / Via Flickr: x1brett

I was in the Hare & Billet pub in Blackheath… I was having lunch and I asked whether there was any Worcester sauce—everybody knows the famous manufacturers of it and, being a simple soul from south-east London, I thought there was only one Worcester sauce.

The nice chap serving us said there certainly was, and he came back with a bottle shaped like the one I always remember containing the marvellous concoction that is Lea & Perrins Worcester sauce. Not only was this bottle the same shape and size, but, amazingly, its label was orange with black lettering.

However, it was something from Sheffield, from someone called Henderson’s, whoever they are. I am sure that Mr Henderson and his company are perfectly estimable, and I am sure they pursue an entirely legitimate business, but I could not help feeling, “Of all the colours they could choose for their label and all of the shapes they could have for their bottle!”

I did not even know there was such a thing as Sheffield sauce until then.

4. Unfortunately for Dowd – who was attacking the “parasitic” practice of supermarkets copying established brands – Henderson’s is a much-loved Sheffield sauce that has been manufactured for over a century.

5. And Yorkshire is angry as hell about the attack on its condiment, which has a similar orange label to its Worcestershire equivalent.

Jim Dowd MP, another example of how stupid our representatives can be. An apology should be on its way to @HendersonsRel !

— Paul Sheard (@pauls1889)

It's not @HendoRelish fault Jim Dowd MP is entirely ignorant of the north of England and our beloved sauce.

— Nick Tudor (@SoYoNick)

jim dowd mp needs to apologise to the people of Sheffield about the @HendoRelish comments. #hendogate

— $$$$$$$$$$ (@richhancox)

9. It’s so loved in Sheffield that the Arctic Monkeys commissioned a special bottle to celebrate the launch of their latest album.

Saw this that was on sale last night at the Arctic Monkeys gig in Sheffield @dimberline56 @DimbleGY #hendersons

— Tom Duncan (@TomDuncanGTFC)

10. Sheffield Labour MP Paul Blomfield made the first attempt at reconciliation and offered to bring his London colleague a bottle to parliament.

11. Then the issue split along party lines, as Lib Dem Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg waded in and posted a picture of himself with a bottle of Hendo’s.

Clegg, who represents the constituency of Sheffield Hallam, says the sauce’s “aroma and flavor [sic] are unique” and it is “used by thousands of Sheffielders”.

The Liberal Democrat said “many more people throughout the country and indeed around the globe” are cottoning on to the delights of Henderson’s taste.

12. All of this is just stoking the anger back in Sheffield.

13. Simon Freeman, managing director of Henderson’s Relish, told the Sheffield Star that he doesn’t know why his sauce was being offered in the capital.

I was saddened by his comments. Henry Henderson [set] out to make a bespoke spicy sauce.

Yes we are aware of the similarities with Lea and Perrins, but there’s not an awful lot you can do with bottled sauce.

I don’t know how a bottle ended up in a pub in London. I’m ordering an internal investigation to find out how it got out of Yorkshire!

14. Freeman is attempting to defuse the row by inviting Dowd to Sheffield for “pie, peas and lashings of Hendos”.

BuzzFeed is waiting to hear whether Dowd will accept the invite.

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Jim Waterson is a politics editor for BuzzFeed News and is based in London.
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