Top Totty beer banned from Parliament bar in ‘nearly naked woman’ sexist row
07:51 03 February 2012
A beer called Top Totty has been banned from a Parliamentary bar after a complaint from a female MP that the brew’s name and its tap picture offended women.
Labour’s shadow equalities minister Kate Green was the “humourless sort” who objected to the beer and prompted its withdrawal from sale at the popular Strangers’ watering hole in Westminster.
Ms Green, MP for Stretford and Urmston in Manchester, told the Commons: “I was disturbed last night to learn that the guest beer in the Strangers’ Bar is called Top Totty and there is a picture of a nearly naked woman on the tap.”
Agreeing to take action, Commons’ leader Sir George Young said: “I would very much regret it if any offensive pictures were on display in any part of the House.”
Commons speaker John Bercow’s wife Sally, who last year posed for photos in just a bed sheet, aired her views on Twitter.
She wrote: “Cannot *believe* that there’s a beer called Top Totty on sale in the Commons! Outrageous - does Mr B know?”
Ukip’s MEP Mike Nattrass, representing Stafford in the Midlands, where the beer is brewed, branded Ms Green “a humourless sort”.
He said: “This sort of knee-jerk Puritanism does more to damage the cause of equality than a thousand beer labels.
“It suggests that to be in favour of equality you must be a dour-faced, insult-searching misery.”
Tory MP Jeremy Lefroy, also representing Stafford, who organised for Top Totty to be sold in Strangers’ as the bar’s guest ale, said: “These guest ale slots offer a very welcome opportunity for small independent breweries, like Slater’s, to reach a wider audience with their products, some of which have cheeky names.
“However, I can understand that some people may take offence to the marketing, which I am sorry about.”
Fellow Conservative MP Tracey Crouch (Chatham and Aylesford in Kent) tweeted: “Why is a beer called Top Totty offensive & now banned from Commons? Not as if it is called Middle-Ranking Totty.”
Fay Slater, speaking for Top Totty’s brewer, said: “We’re just a small family business and we don’t want to go around offending anybody but we do stand by the Top Totty pump clip.
“It’s just a bit of cheeky fun and there is nothing intended by it, but if somebody is seriously offended we would consider sending a different clip to publicans who ask for it.”