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Published:  23 July, 2008

By Christian Davis

A bridge between the wine trade and the Government was the tantalising prospect dangled in front of drinks trade representatives at the Wine & Spirit Association's (WSA) sixth annual lunch at Vintners' Hall in London, by the joint-chairman of the recently-formed Parliamentary Wine Club (PWC). Geoffrey Clifton-Brown MP said: We can provide a bridge to the trade; we can open doors for you. How well we represent your case is up to you. We have got to know and understand your businesses.' The Conservative MP for the Cotswolds and Shadow Minister for Transport, Planning and Housing, said the PWC was now the second largest parliamentary group, with 150 members. He added that with the drinks industry being a 3 billion concern, the Chancellor had to take notice of its needs and opinions. He also doubted if every one of the 659 MPs did not have a business within or related to the drinks industry in their constituencies. In calling on the trade to educate MPs about the nature of their business, Clifton-Brown quipped that MPs had moved beyond Bull's Blood and were down to their last case of Blue Nun'. * The new president of the WSA is Julian Brind MW, former head buyer at Waitrose.