MSPs debate quality of free coffee in Holyrood meetings

EUROPE, council tax reforms, looming elections - there's plenty to occupy the minds of politicians these days - but MSPs took time in the Scottish Parliament this afternoon to debate the quality of the coffee they are served at committee meetings.

MSPs have debated the quality of free coffee served in committee meetings. Picture: Neil Hanna

It all started with a question about whether leftover food from receptions at Holyrood could be used to feed the homeless rather than being sent for compost.

But once catering was under discussion, Conservative MSP Mary Scanlon decided to raise the matter of the coffee/

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“Many of us would like to increase the amount of food for disposal - and I refer to the coffee in committee rooms,” she announced.

“On behalf of colleagues across the parliament from all parties, can I ask that the Scottish Parliament Corporate Body ensure that MSPs get a decent cup of coffee in committee next session?

Linda Fabiani, replying for the cross-party SPCB, said: “I guess it’s all a matter of taste. I quite like the coffee we get in committee. I think we’re very lucky getting coffee in committees.”

She said she had heard the complaint before and parliament staff had organised coffee tastings for MSPs to try and choose the best coffee.

“I don’t know what else we can do for Mrs Scanlon. I would suggest the fact that often the coffee urns are empty would suggest that most people are quite happy with the coffee.”

Then SNP backbencher Mike McKenzie joined in. “I share Mary Scanlon’s concerns,” he told the chamber.

But he said sometimes when he had been at committee meetings early in the day the coffee had tasted better.

“I would suggest that part of the problem will be that at times coffee is left standing in these vacuum flaks for quite a long time and that impinges on the quality of its flavour.”

Ms Fabiani made a final plea: “Could I suggest people get a bit healthier and drink more water?”