HL Deb 21 October 1998 vol 593 c1441

3.6 p.m.

Lord Beaumont of Whitley asked the Chairman of Committees:

Whether pig meat served in House of Lords restaurants is of British origin.

The Chairman of Committees (Lord Boston of Faversham)

My Lords, pig meat served in the House of Lords restaurants is of British origin, except the bacon in the staff restaurant, which is Dutch, and the wild boar, which comes from Hungary and at times from one or two other places. This is not a laughing matter. We do not make much of these matters in your Lordships' House, but it so happens that my arms bear the wild boar.

Lord Beaumont of Whitley

My Lords, while I thank the noble Lord for his relatively satisfactory Answer, is he aware that the fact that British pork is served in the restaurants is not well known, hence this Question? Will the noble Lord consider ways of publicising it further, such as descriptions on menus, so that Ministers from laggard departments such as the Ministry of Defence may have their consciences pricked and follow our example, as they probably follow that of another place and that great temple of value for money, Marks & Spencer?

The Chairman of Committees

My Lords, the last thing that I contemplated—I did not contemplate it at all—was that in this Question I would be asked about the Ministry of Defence. I can see possible advantages in the Ministry using wild boar on some occasions. I am very grateful to the noble Lord for what he has said. I shall consider whether this can be more widely publicised, because it would be an advantage to do so. I benefit from British pork because almost every day when your Lordships' House sits I enjoy a lunch of beautifully mashed potatoes and two hot sausages in the Home Room. They are delicious and I commend them to the House.

Lord Mackie of Benshie

My Lords, is the Chairman of Committees aware that, amusing though his answers are, they will not amuse the many pork/bacon farmers who are going bust?

The Chairman of Committees

My Lords, I appreciate what the noble Lord says. However, important though those matters are, I do not believe that they are domestic matters for the House of Lords.