|Lunchtime in the Strangers Bar|
The issue has surfaced again in a slightly different form: the Press Association requested information about MPs' drinking habits after incidents such as Eric Joyce's conviction for assault in 2012, or Mark Reckless admitting he missed a vote in 2010 because he was drunk. The speaker, John Bercow, has refused the request and under Freedom of Information legislation, he doesn't have to explain why.
I can't see any good reason why such information cannot be released, anonymised of course to protect individual privacy, so the conclusion I draw is it is too embarrassing, a view which I feel is supported by Tory MP Sarah Wollaston's statement in 2011 that some MPs were drinking "really quite heavily".
It's long overdue for Parliament to join the 21st century: few, if any, other employers would tolerate excessive drinking - or in many cases, any drinking - while on duty. A couple of decades ago, many workplaces had their own bars, including in my personal experience some larger civil service buildings and police stations. I remember drinking in a police station bar when our quiz team was playing away to a police team. Such staff bars are all gone now. Time for Parliament to catch up.