More MPs 'seeking alcoholism help'

Commons Speaker John Bercow said more MPs are seeking help for alcoholism as Parliament attempts to crack down on Westminster's drinking culture.

Mr Bercow also suggested there may be politicians with "other addiction issues" as he insisted the House reflects wider society.

Last week it emerged Commons staff are to be told to top up MPs' glasses fewer times at Parliamentary receptions to encourage "responsible alcohol use".

The move comes in the wake of the fight in the Commons Strangers Bar that saw Eric Joyce attack fellow MPs.

Mr Bercow said there is no longer a heavy subsidy on alcohol served in Parliament's bars.

In an interview for Sky News' Murnaghan programme he said: "I think that there are a number of other factors. I think there are issues relating to members who have had too much to drink. I think it is important that the medical service in the House is aware as it can be of members with problems.

"There is some evidence now that more members and staff who have got drink-related issues are seeking help and that's a positive.

"I think we are a reflection of society and just as there are people in every walk of life who have got issues to do with alcohol, and possibly other addiction issues, there can be problems in this place."

Mr Bercow also claimed voters feel let down by mainstream political parties because they have not got what they voted for and feel disillusioned because the parties are "quite similar" and there "isn't a huge choice".

The Speaker, who is expected to remain politically impartial at all times, said: "To some extent, (people) are suspicious or even despairing of formal politics as a means to give expression and effect to what they want. I think there is a wider dissatisfaction that people feel partly that the parties are still quite similar and perhaps there isn't a huge choice, and partly they feel, well 'I said what I wanted, and I voted accordingly, but I haven't got what I wanted or what I voted for two years ago'."