The Daily Telegraph

Alcohol limits loom as French parliament gets too spirited

- By Vivian Song

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.”

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