Finnish MP called away from debate on alcohol liberalisation to help drunk political aid

A Finnish MP had to leave a parliamentary debate on the liberalisation of alcohol to attend to a political aid with suspected alcohol poisoning last Thursday, according to Finnish newspaper Aamulehti.

Map and Flag of Finland. Source: “World reference atlas”

Päivi Räsänen, who is a trained doctor and Christian Democrat MP, was debating the liberalisation of Finland’s restrictive Alcohol Act last Thursday when she was asked to check up on a drunk political aid who may have had alcohol poisoning.  A witness saw that a member of staff, who had been attending the office Christmas party taking place at the same time as the debate, was unable to stand and was seen vomiting in the parliamentary corridors.

Räsänen told Finnish newspaper Aamulehti: “I proposed that the whole case should be moved to the morning so there would be time for the 200-page report of the Social Affairs and Health Committee to be read.”

She added: “It is very controversial that a parliamentary debate is underway in which the disadvantages of alcohol are discussed, and at the same time this is happening.”  Räsänen was unable to go into specific details as she was bound by doctor-patient confidentiality.

The Finnish Government voted on the Alcohol Act on 19 December. There will be further discussions on Thursday 28 December, after which a full list of changes will be released. Some of the changes that have already been approved include lifting restrictions on alcoholic beverages from 4.7% to 5.5% which grocery stores, petrol stations and local kiosks will be allowed to sell.

Restaurants and bars will also be allowed to advertise happy hour deals, opening hours will be deregulated in restaurants, shops and wholesalers, while restaurants and bars will be allowed to publish their price lists for strong alcohol drinks online.

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