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Parliamentary Plonk: ‘buy Australian wine’ Labour MP tells House of Commons

Labour’s John Spellar has urged the Commons Commission to buy and drink Australian wine in Parliament bars to “make clear that bullying doesn’t pay” in light of Chinese wine tariffs.

Parliamentary Plonk: 'buy Australian wine' Labour MP tells House of Commons

The next review of wines sold in the House of Commons is not due until spring 2024, but evenso, drinks sales in Whitehall were a topic of discussion among politicians yesterday.

Labour MP John Spellar addressed the house on Thursday 11 January urging colleagues in the House of Commons to support Australia by buying the country’s wines in Parliament.

“As part of a dispute over Covid, China imposed particularly punishing tariffs on Australian wine with damage to their industry,” he said, referring to tariffs which have been in place since November 2020, imposing a charge of 107.1 – 212.1% on wine exports initially (the rates varied by company), which subsequently rose to 116.2 – 218.4% in March 2021.

He went on: “So can I urge the Commons Commission to stand with our Australian friends and allies and prioritise buying Australian wine and encourage its use in our venues in order to make clear that bullying doesn’t pay.”

Commons bars offer two Australian wines — a Chardonnay from Dry River and The Black Craft Shiraz from the Barossa Valley. In comparison, 10 white wines, one rosé and eight reds from France are on offer at its venues. Three English wines are also on the menu.

Responding to Spellar, The Conservative Party’s Sir Charles Walker said: Of course if colleagues here wish to prioritise the purchase of Australian wine off the wine list then I would encourage them to do so, but also remind them that we have very good English wines on the wine list as well.”

Addressing the camera directly, Sir Charles said: “More generally, I’m sure the nation has heard my right honourable friend’s call to arms, so when we’re all out in the supermarket stocking our own shelves, perhaps we should all be mindful to buy two or three bottles of Australian wine as well, seriously, to show solidarity with our Australian friends and their growers.”

China has announced that it will review the tariffs on Australian wine imports following the long-running dispute over the issue. Read more here.

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