Notorious Parliament bar closed after fight
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. –