MPs Spent £13,000 Doing Up Their Own Pub (Where You Can Get Subsidised Booze)
Our politicians have just had their bar modernised. Anyone fancy a pint?
Hello there, thirsty politician. In the House of Commons? That's lucky, because we've got just the bar for you.
And this summer over £13,000 of public money was spent on refurbishing the subsidised bar.
The Houses of Parliament is one of the best places to get drunk in London.
The newly-refurbished Strangers Bar give you access to the House of Commons terrace, which has to be the greatest beer garden in the capital.
But it's not the only place to get a pint in parliament - around a dozen restaurants and bars across parliament receive a public subsidy of over £7 million a year.
And, as a result, MPs often get drunk in Strangers. Sometimes it gets a bit out of hand.
And sometimes they're too drunk to vote.
It's one thing for existing MPs to have access to subsidised booze and food. But all former MPs also have the right to a top-level parliamentary pass. This includes politicians kicked out during the expenses scandal.
We used the Freedom of Information act to see which former MPs are wandering around the parliamentary estate. It shows that several ex-MPs who lost their jobs over dubious expenses claims still have unlimited access to the subsidised booze and drink – and can pop into Strangers whenever they want.
One of them is Peter Viggers, who expensed £1,600 for a duck house.
Another man with a pass is Derek Conway, who employed his son to do, er, nothing.
Derek Conway paid his son Henry £10,000 a year to work as his Westminster assistant, even though he was a full-time student at the University of Newcastle.
Not that Conway junior seemed too upset when the story emerged – he used the publicity to launch a clubnight called "Fuck off I'm Rich" and turned up to the opening night dressed as an 18th century dandy in a carriage pulled by horses.
His Tory MP dad was forced to step down at the next election – but despite expelled from the party and resigning his job in disgrace, Derek Conway decided to claim a former member's pass – allowing him access to parliament's bars and restaurants.