No­to­ri­ous Par­lia­ment bar closed af­ter fight

The Dominion Post - - World -

BRI­TAIN: A bar in Par­lia­ment has been shut af­ter a Com­mons em­ployee al­legedly hit a col­league with a glass in a brawl that spilt into an al­ley­way.

Po­lice were called on Tues­day evening, lo­cal time, to the Sports and So­cial, a bar in the bow­els of the Palace of West­min­ster that has played host to sev­eral con­tro­ver­sial in­ci­dents.

A 57-year-old staff mem­ber was ar­rested on sus­pi­cion of griev­ous bod­ily harm and af­fray, and was still in cus­tody in a cen­tral Lon­don po­lice sta­tion yes­ter­day. A 64-yearold man, who also works for the House of Com­mons, was taken to hos­pi­tal by am­bu­lance but Scot­land Yard said his injuries were not life threat­en­ing.

The fight spilt into an al­ley­way be­side some rub­bish bins, where po­lice were called at 6.30pm. Sources claimed the in­jured man was hit with a glass.

One wit­ness wrote on Twit­ter that the row be­gan when a ‘‘quiet bloke about 60 was qui­etly read­ing pa­per at the bar with mag­ni­fy­ing glass. An­other mid­dle-aged bloke seemed to be try­ing to pro­voke him.’’

The bar, whose main clien­tele are young staff who work for MPs, stayed open for the rest of Tues­day evening as nor­mal. But yes­ter­day a door sign read: ‘‘Sports & So­cial club bar will not be open to­day.’’ Next to the door was a sign read­ing: ‘‘No glasses to be re­moved from the premises please.’’

The fight will add to the scru­tiny of Par­lia­ment’s drink­ing cul­ture af­ter al­le­ga­tions of sex­ual mis­con­duct and harassment in West­min­ster.

The House of Lords took con­trol of the Sports and So­cial last month. Peers said it was an ‘‘ob­vi­ous anom­aly’’ as the only cater­ing out­let in Par­lia­ment run by a third party. The up­per cham­ber is also re­view­ing the bar’s open­ing hours and rules on who can bring in guests.

Last month, Chi On­wu­rah, a Labour MP, said ‘‘a num­ber of re­searchers’’, both women and men, ‘‘had been made to feel deeply un­com­fort­able’’ by MPs in the bar. –

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