Monday, 28 April 2008

Bottled water debate hits parliament

Political Editor Phil Hornby blogs from parliament


Hildon, the mineral water company based at Broughton in Hampshire, are raising a glass to MPs here at Westminster - after a decision not to ban bottled water from the Commons.

A campaign by the Evening Standard has led to many restaurants in London offering thirsty diners tap water instead of the bottled stuff.

It's all about saving the planet. Why drink expensive water from expensive bottles which have been driven in gas-guzzling lorries, when you can have it straight from the tap?

MPs discussed the possible change in the Commons last month. And it put Sandra Gidley, the MP for Romsey, in an awkward spot.

Her environmental credentials are second-to-none But Hildon, which supplies all the Commons' bottled water, is based in her constituency, and jobs could be on the line. Not least hers (she has a majority of just 125).

Well, after weeks of behind-the-scenes discussions, today the Commons Administration Committee - a cross-party group of MPs - today announced their historic decision.

No change. The status quo.

Some MPs are furious, saying it sends out completely the wrong message. At a time when we are all being told to reduce our carbon footprint, they are going to continue knocking back bottled water.

It's very good news for Hildon though. Over the past five years MPs have got through 850,000 litres of their still and sparkling.

Oh, and they've clocked up 77,000 miles driving it from Broughton to Westminster.

Cheers, everyone!

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