A Conservative minister has been accused of being “out of touch” – after suggesting that people drown their coronavirus sorrows with a plush, £170 bottle of champagne.
Despite being in the middle of a global pandemic and a devastating economic recession, minister for housing Christopher Pincher said a bottle of Krug Grand Cru Curvée as an “alternative vaccine” against the “memory of last year”.
Writing in The Critic magazine, Pincher wrote that the bubbly was “ideal for lifting the spirit and lighting up a darkening winter afternoon”, hailing its “tart satsuma” flavour and “light, tight, nutty effervescence”.
Labour’s Mike Amesbury, shadow minister for housing, said Pincher was “truly out of touch and breathtakingly arrogant.”
“While leaseholders were having sleepless nights about how they would find thousands of pounds to make their flats safe from dangerous cladding and more than half a million in rent arrears or temporary accommodation struggling to make ends, the housing minister was recommending they buy bottles of champagne costing £170,” he said.
“Chris Pincher should be fixing the massive problems facing leaseholders and those in desperate need of good quality, affordable and truly sustainable housing, not writing articles about luxury wines.”
The minister writes a regular wine column for The Critic, for which he is paid £200 per article according to the register of MPs interests.
‘Toasts should be drunk with champagne’
In the column, Pincher laments 2020 as “the most risible and rotten year” – but adds “the year has turned, and we must turn our faces forward.”
He continues: “We must raise a toast to the future; and toasts should be drunk with champagne. In the land of shimmering champers, at least in my opinion, Krug is king.
“It is ideal for lifting the spirit and lighting up a darkening winter afternoon,” Pincher writes.
“So, if you have the chance, or the wherewithal, to buy a bottle, these bubbles will brighten your family bubble and provide an alternative vaccine until the real thing provides more permanent inoculation against the memory of last year.”