Bottles of water in the Commons

June 2, 2008 at 4:00 pm

There’s an old phrase that goes ‘practise what you preach’ and never has this seemed more apt than when it comes to bottled water in the House of Commons. While the government and their shadow government in Whitehall are going on about how much we should all be doing for the environment, at the same time, they are quite happy to snub harmless tap water in the building in favour of shipping in truckloads of bottles of the finest mineral water at a considerable cost to the environment.

Every year, MPs quaff 30,000 litres of bottled water in meetings and at lunch etc. These are available at canteens, bars and served in their thousands during the course of the year. It is estimated that the lorries that deliver the bottled water have clocked up around 70,000 miles over the past five years.

Number 10 and the cabinet have changed their spots when it comes to this issue and they now drink flasks of chilled tap water. But the attitude of the rest of Westminster isn’t quite the same. Apparently on the grounds of hygiene and cost, bottles are still preferable to the tap. It’s hard to see this ever changing when there is a House of Commons special brand of bottled water that comes into parliament more or less every day from Hampshire.

With the House of Lords even more snobbish about the idea of drinking from the tap, it looks as though it’s going to take a lot for Westminster to practise what they preach.

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