Tory heckled at 'servants' comment

Tory MP Christopher Chope said there were 'three servants for each person sitting down' in the Commons dining room

Tory MP Christopher Chope said there were 'three servants for each person sitting down' in the Commons dining room

First published in National News © by

A Conservative backbencher prompted heckling from the Opposition after appearing to refer to Westminster catering staff as "servants".

Christopher Chope provoked audible reaction from the Labour backbenches after using the term in the Commons.

He described the dining room service as "absolutely fantastic" while asking a question on usage levels of the facility.

Following the comment Shadow Leader of the House of Commons Angela Eagle tweeted: "Tory MP Christopher Chope lets the cat out of the bag by referring to HoC waiters and waitresses as 'servants!"

Mr Chope, MP for Christchurch said: "The situation last week when I dined on all three nights in the dining rooms and almost nobody else was present. But the service was absolutely fantastic Mr Speaker because there was three to one service. Three servants for each person sitting down.

"Does he think that one way of engaging the members of the House today who obviously don't use the dining rooms would be to offer them much cheaper rates when there is an opportunity for them to come along."

Lib Dem John Thurso, representing the House of Commons Commission, replied: "There is clearly a balance to be struck between attracting people in at the right price and actually coming to a point where prices are offered so low that they do not recover the appropriate cost.

"Clearly that balance is one that the house authorities strive to strike appropriately and the work that is currently being undertaken by the administration committee in particular is looking at that.

"The key factor driving all of this is the footfall in the Palace is dropping because of the change in hours and that's something I don't think any of us can do a great deal about."

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