THIRSTY Westminister MPs are supping 30,000 pints a year after orders from the House of Commons doubled.

The Federation Brewery, the suppliers to Parliament, has seen orders double since October last year, meaning politicians are knocking back 2,500 pints a month.

Brewery bosses have taken over the supply of beers and lagers to the House of Commons after 36 years.

A brewery spokesman said: "Our sales figures to Parliament have gone up 100 per cent from October to May. On average, 2,500 pints are drunk a month, but that doesn't include drinks such as gin, whisky and liqueurs, which are also popular."

The brewery, at Dunston, Gateshead, has been supplying the Commons ever since North-East Labour MPs gave it their backing.

Since 1966, a number of brands have been introduced to join Federation Ordinary and Fed Special, including High Level Brown Ale, Pale Ale, LCL lager, Samson and Northumbrian Smooth.

Fed Special, the first brand to be supplied, is still the House's best-seller.

Special was both Labour Prime Minister Harold Wilson's and Tory Kenneth Clarke's favourite - and ex-Tory leader William Hague requested Special to be served at his wedding.

Blyth Valley MP Ronnie Campbell, a lager drinker, said: "Some MPs may be sloshed but I can't say I've been drinking more than usual. Sales may have increased because they've been letting more outside people into the Strangers' Bar."

Blaydon MP John McWilliam said: "It's important we keep the Federation ales down there, if only to show our southern colleag-ues what good beer we brew."