Police called and hours of CCTV footage scanned after ‘union men’ walk off with half a bottle of Labour MP’s £14 wine
By Simon Walters
A Labour MP has been accused of wasting police time after he summoned an officer and two security guards to investigate the theft of half a bottle of wine from a Commons bar.
Dunfermline MP Thomas Docherty claims two men, believed to be union activists, walked off with the unfinished £14 bottle of chardonnay.
Even though the bottle was later returned to him, the men disappeared and Mr Docherty demanded they be apprehended.
In a scene straight from TV’s Crimewatch, a police officer was dispatched after midnight to scan CCTV footage in an effort to catch the pair.
Defiant Mr Docherty last night insisted he was right to make a stand and called for new checks on Commons visitors to stop a repeat of the theft.
But one of Mr Docherty’s fellow Labour MPs thought the incident had been blown out of all proportion.
He said: ‘To have two guards and a copper searching for a couple of blokes who ran off with a half-drunk bottle of wine left on a bar is daft.
‘Imagine if a member of the public did that in a normal pub. The police would laugh in your face.’
The incident, dubbed ‘chardonnay-gate’, happened at 11pm on Budget Day as MPs and visitors were in the crowded bar overlooking the River Thames.
Mr Docherty left the bar to go out on to the terrace to have a cigarette. When he came back, he discovered his bottle was missing.
He was then told by a barman that two men had taken the bottle on to the terrace.
The MP, accompanied by the barman, spotted the bottle standing on a parapet over the river and confronted the men.
Mr Docherty, 36, grabbed the bottle, returned it to the bar and then went back on to the terrace to deal with the thieves. By the time he returned to the crime scene, the culprits had made their getaway.
But Mr Docherty, who last year led calls for MPs to abide by a Commons dress code after a woman MP allegedly turned up in jeans, was determined not to let the matter rest. He phoned security and a few minutes later a female guard arrived in the bar.
Mr Docherty and the barman gave her a detailed account of what happened, showed her the wine bottle – which by now was empty – and gave descriptions of the unlikely thieving duo; a short, young black man wearing a black jacket and an elderly white man with a walking stick.
The guard made comprehensive notes before leaving the bar. Other MPs said the ‘thieves’ had earlier attended a Trades Union Congress reception elsewhere in Parliament.
Mr Docherty was later taken to one side by two fellow Labour MPs who told him ‘to stop making a mountain out of a molehill’.
Undeterred, Mr Docherty insisted the security of MPs was at stake and the ‘chardonnay criminals’ must be hunted down.
Moments later, the female guard returned, this time with another guard and a uniformed police officer.
They interviewed Mr Docherty for five minutes, making further detailed notes.
They agreed to search the building for the men and the policeman went to check the CCTV cameras placed at strategic entrances and exits to the Commons. No trace of the men was found.
Scotland Yard confirmed that police were called to deal with ‘an incident at the Commons’ at 11pm on Wednesday.
A source said: ‘There was a complaint that a bottle of wine was moved from where it was and taken out on to the terrace by people who it did not belong to.
‘It was sorted out and it was not taken any further. The complainant got his wine back.’
Former communications consultant Mr Docherty said last night: ‘I asked the barman what happened and he said, "Two men took it outside".
‘Thankfully, we managed to retrieve it. But the two men who took it scar¬pered. I asked the policeman to check the CCTV to make sure the men were not still on the premises.’
He denied blowing the incident out of proportion. ‘It was a security matter,’ he said. ‘If you have people coming into parts of the Commons where they shouldn’t be, it’s not very clever, is it?’
Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1370345/Police-called-hours-CCTV-footage-scanned-union-men-walk-half-bottle-Labour-MP-s-14-wine.html#ixzz1HnBS37td
Obviously it is only MPs who are allowed to steal things from the taxpayer.
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