House of Commons to begin serving halal and kosher food following MPs' appeal
The House of Commons has announced it will start serving halal and kosher food following an appeal from MPs.
It comes after Labour MPs Charlotte Nichols, who is Jewish, and Zarah Sultana, who is Muslim, wrote a joint letter to Commons Speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle on the matter last month.
In the letter, which attracted cross-party support from 49 MPs, the pair said they were “surprised and saddened” when they arrived in Parliament to find there were no halal and kosher options.
They added that this impacted the “working lives” of MPs, peers and staff and called for “Muslim and Jewish religious practices to be accommodated” in Parliament.
Signatories of the letter included John McDonnell, Diane Abbott, Richard Burgon, Rosena Allin Khan, Caroline Lucas, Mhairi Black and Wes Streeting.
Following their appeal, the House of Commons has now confirmed it is starting a three-month trial of halal and kosher options.
Meals suitable for those observing halal and kosher diets will begin being served in the Bellamy’s canteen from 30 March.
Responding to the news, Ms Sultana said she was “pleased” their concerns had been listened to.
She added: “For Parliament to represent the people of this country, it has to be accessible to everyone – and that includes accommodating religious practices.
“In 2020, that’s not too much to ask. I’m looking forward to working with House of Commons services to make this trial a success.”
Meanwhile, Ms Nichols said: "As Parliament increasingly looks like the diverse communities we represent, it's great that these options will soon be available for MPs, peers, staff and visitors who have previously been denied the choice.
“I’m very grateful to colleagues for their support and to House of Commons staff for working to accommodate the request."
She added: “It's not just about the people who currently work on the estate and the guests who visit, but future-proofing to ensure that we are more open to those who might wish to come in the future. I hope the trial will be a success.