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"Red Biddy"

Volume 319: debated on Tuesday 2 February 1937

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asked the Secretary of State for Scotland whether he contemplates taking any action to regulate or abolish the sale of the red wine commonly called "Red Biddy" in Scotland?

The ordinary statutory regulations governing the sale of wine apply to the sale of the cheap red wine known as "RED BIDDY." and further restrictions upon its sale could not, I fear, prevent anyone from subsequently mixing it with methylated spirit and drinking the concoction. I have no reason to believe that this concoction which is also known as "Red Biddy" is on sale in any area. Any solution of the problem of methylated spirit drinking would, I think, have to be on different lines. I am not in a position to make any statement about legislation, but the question is at present under careful review.

Has the beverage known as "Red Biddy" ever been analysed?

Cannot steps be taken with regard to the sale of this very dangerous liquid, to make it saleable only by chemists, and remove it from public houses altogether?

The question of methylated spirit drinking was the substance of a Bill introduced into the House some time ago, and it is that question, the drinking of methylated spirits, which is receiving my attention.

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that "Red Biddy" and methylated spirits are used together, and that they are creating havoc, absolute physical and moral havoc, among the people?

Yes, but the problem, obviously is the injury that is caused by the drinking of methylated spirits. It is the sale of methylated spirits which is the necessary part to be controlled.

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that this question, particularly in Glasgow, in many of the low public houses there, is a direct menace to the mental welfare of the people, and in his review will he take the question of the drinking of red wine into immediate consideration with a view to dealing with the problem drastically?

I am aware of the problem, and not long ago I had a conversation with Lord Salversen. The difficulty is that of controlling the sale of methylated spirits which does the injury when it is mixed with red wine or any other beverage.