The Daily Telegraph
Alcohol limits loom as French parliament gets too spirited
FRENCH MPS face tight restrictions on how much alcohol they can consume in parliament after drinking the bar dry and vomiting into bins.
The National Assembly is moving to clamp down on the drinking culture among MPS following two weeks of alcohol-fuelled pension reform debates that often degenerated into a barrage of insults and outbursts.
Lawmakers were observed drinking champagne from 11am and binge drinking until 3am. According to one report, a drunk MP had to be picked up off the floor by waiters.
MPS are able to purchase alcohol from the bar on the ground floor of the Palais Bourbon, the seat at the National Assembly.
The brasserie-style refreshment bar exclusively serves MPS and remains open during sessions.
According to Le Journal du Dimanche (JDD), excess alcohol consumption and raucous behaviour has become so pervasive that the bureau of the National Assembly has commissioned a report comparing sales of booze between the current legislature and the last.
The bureau includes the assembly’s president, advisers, secretaries and presidents of the parliamentary groups.
The possibility of banning booze at the bar after 9:30pm was also raised, but other attendees pointed out that the peak of consumption was between 8pm and 9:30pm.
“As soon as the meeting is suspended, you go and have a drink at the refreshment bar to release from the pressure cooker,” one Renaissance MP told JDD. “And it becomes a regular occurrence. I’ve seen people become alcoholics.”
Another unnamed senior official told Le Parisien that he had never seen the bar as busy as it was during the pension reform debates.
“Do not close the refreshment bar,” one deputy told JDD . “In a very tumultuous assembly, it is a place preserved from the political fight where one can breathe a little.”