The National:

IT may have been to celebrate Brexit or to banish the Brexit blues, but for whatever reason the amount of champagne bottles sold in the House of Lords has soared by a fizztastic 40% in the last year.

The SNP, which does not nominate anyone for the upper chamber at Westminster, are all in a tizz over the revelation, which came from figures revealed under Freedom of Information laws.

They show that bars and restaurants in the House Lords sold 520 bottles of champagne from December 2018 to October 2019, up from 369 last year.

The unelected Lords and Ladies in the House get an allowance of £305 per day which would enable them to buy seven bottles a day with the luxury champagne selling for £43 a bottle.

We know it’s a luxury “own label” champagne because in the years of the Labour Government the Lords rejected the merger of their catering service with that of the Commons, with one clerk alleging that they did so for fear that their champagne might be diminished in quality.

The Lords denied that was the sole reason for dismissing the merger, of course, and to be fair the catering subsidy was down. There is a serious point to all this after the recent reports revealing that Boris Johnson is plotting to put more Brexiteers and right-wing allies in the House of Lords.

Nicky Morgan has already been confirmed as a new member of the Lords so that she can stay in the job of culture secretary while the disgraceful case of Zac Goldsmith – to be made a peer after losing his seat to the Liberal Democrats – is only now coming under scrutiny after it was revealed that the Prime Minister’s partner Carrie Symonds is a personal friend of the new member of the Lords.

SNP MSP Tom Arthur said: “The public will be shocked that these unelected peers, defeated politicians and party donors are pocketing £300 a day – then guzzling champagne at the taxpayer’s expense.

“It seems the Lords would rather treat themselves by living a life most can only dream of.

“The idea of Lords – many of whom have been rejected by the electorate – spoiling themselves while poverty and food bank use continues to rise will be enough to make most voters sick.

“It’s time for this undemocratic, archaic and out-dated institution to be abolished for good.”