MPs are receiving discounts of up to 80% on food and drink purchases at House of Commons bars and restaurants thanks to a tidy £5.8m subsidy from the taxpayer. The pot of cash for vittals and liquor is up £87,000 on last year, despite the Commons Commission's recommendation that £500,000 be siphoned out of the subsidy.
When The Telegraph investigated the menu at the Members Dining Room, it found that MPs could buy an artichoke and tomato salad with truffle dressing for just £2.05, or splash out on a seared breast of pigeon with aubergine purée and spiced couscous for just £4.15. Glasses of 2009 Sauvignon Blanc or 2010 Merlot in the Pugin Room bar are a snip at £2.35.
While the rest of us hoi poloi endure austerity measures and rising food prices, MPs are in the money. For every £10 an MP spent on lunch last year, the public contributed £7.60.
There may be no such thing as a free lunch, but for MPs, it's a darned cheap one.