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Lord finds coffee machine ‘insulting' amid barrage of restaurant complaints

03 February 2014 by
Lord finds coffee machine ‘insulting' amid barrage of restaurant complaints

The subsidised Barry Room restaurant in the House of Lords has received a barrage of criticism from peers who have complained about everything from waiting times to a troublesome new coffee machine.

The restaurant, which is run in-house, is part of a group of facilities subsidised by the taxpayer at a cost of £1.3m a year, according to TheIndependent. The complaints, sent to Lord John Sewel, the Chairman of Committees, were released in redacted form following a Freedom of Information request.

One Lord complained of a 15-minute wait to be seated, while another criticised the "chaotic litter of small tables" in the Lords' tea room after its rearrangement over Easter.

Another said he had been left "scarred" after his dinner booking was cancelled suddenly. He complained that his wife was "unable to lunch elsewhere" because she was wearing a tiara. The Lord said: "We were only saved by the kindness of [a fellow peer] who offered us the use of his nearby home to change in and took us out to lunch."

And on the subject of the new coffee machine, which seemed to incur a considerable amount of wrath, one Lord said: "You could not have calculated a move more likely to spread ill will". Another added that the arrival of the new machine was "insulting" and "staggering", because peers hadn't been consulted about the change.

Last month, an angry Lord accused catering heads at Parliament's subsidised restaurants of serving food like that produced by high-street chains such as Prezzo and Ask, which he described as "downmarket".

Meanwhile, a handwritten note called for staff at the canteen to "stop asking whether we want butter on jacket potatoes when what they mean is marge".

Labour's Maria Eagle told The Independent: "These complaints are completely out of touch at a time when so many families are struggling to make ends meet, thanks to the Government's cost-of-living crisis.

"They should be grateful not to be one of the half a million people forced to rely on help from food banks since April, despite Britain being the seventh richest country on the planet."

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