French MPs face alcohol ban after heavy boozing disrupts parliamentary sessions

10:25 05.03.2023 •

French MPs face alcohol restrictions in parliament after drinking the bar dry and vomiting into bins. Restrictions follow alcohol-fuelled pension reform debates that often degenerated into barrage of insults and outbursts, informs “The Telegraph”.

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.

Another was reported to have thrown up in a rubbish bin.

MPs are able to purchase alcohol from the bar on the ground floor of the Palais Bourbon, the seat of the National Assembly. The brasserie-style refreshment bar serves MPs exclusively and remains open during sessions.

According to the Journal du Dimanche, 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, advisors, secretaries and presidents of the parliamentary groups.

The possibility of banning booze at the bar after 9:30 pm was also raised, but other attendees pointed out that the peak of consumption falls between 8 pm to 9:30 pm.

“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 the Journal du Dimanche. “And it becomes a regular occurrence. I’ve seen people become alcoholics.”

Another unnamed senior official told Le Parisien he’s never seen the bar as busy as it was during the controversial pension reform debates.

News that the bar could close caused a mild panic among some members of parliament including one who pointed out that the bar serves as a place where deputies can converse with political rivals on neutral ground.

“Do not close the refreshment bar,” the deputy told the Journal du Dimanche. “In a very tumultuous Assembly, it is a place preserved from the political fight where one can breathe a little.”

Several representatives also blamed the frenetic pace of debates that went long into the night and the short two-week deadline for driving exhausted MPs to drink.

“We are the only European Parliament to continue night work,” one representative said. “It has to stop. If some people drink a shot, it’s because they have to maintain rhythms that aren’t normal.”


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