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House of Commons Catering: British Food

Volume 707: debated on Thursday 27 January 2022

10. What steps the Commission is taking to increase the proportion of British food bought for sale in the House’s catering outlets. (905268)

The right hon. Gentleman knows that the House of Commons food outlets serve 650 Members of Parliament, 420 members of the press lobby, and about another 17,000 passholders. It is the intention of all catering outlets, wherever possible, to buy British, and to serve seasonal vegetables, British meat and dairy, and, of course, the Champagne—or its equivalent—made in Hampshire and other parts of the United Kingdom, as well as local beers. However, those of course were not available during periods of lockdown, when no alcohol was served on the premises.

I thank the hon. Member for that helpful answer. May I urge him to take a proactive role and invite Members of Parliament to put forward local British suppliers so that we can benefit British businesses and British workers? Officials have no longer got the excuse of the EU to hide behind—it was never a real one anyway—so will they get on with that and have an active campaign?

Since we banished the EU from these shores, we have been just delighting in buying British. But there is more to do, and the right hon. Member needs to play an important part in that campaign. In the next few weeks, I expect him to lead a delegation to the Administration Committee of interested Members from across the United Kingdom, including Scotland and Wales—oh, and Jim Shannon—to demand that more is done. We shall try to meet those demands.

Order. Before I come to the business question, I understand that a Member has this morning stated in a media appearance that he has been granted an urgent question today. That is not the case. So, Sky News, please take down the notice that there is a UQ. No UQs have been granted at all.

I remind Members that, to be considered, UQ applications need to be tabled by the deadline. This Member was more than 30 minutes late in putting in a UQ application. All right hon. and hon. Members should take care to be accurate in their comments about business in the Chamber. They certainly should not announce that urgent questions have been granted when that is not the case. I remind Members, too, that Erskine May states:

“Neither the submission of an urgent question nor its subsequent rejection by the Speaker should…be…referred to”—

and certainly not on the media. I would be grateful if all Members followed that guidance. I am sure that the Member concerned will be heading to my office to apologise as a matter of urgency.