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Last Updated: Friday, 13 October 2006, 11:03 GMT 12:03 UK
Bid to ban HP in Commons' canteen
HP sauce
The firm said the image represents HP's historic use in Parliament
MPs have tabled a motion to ban HP Sauce from the canteen in the House of Commons in protest at its owner's decision to end production in Britain.

Solihull Liberal Democrat MP Lorely Burt said the image of the Houses of Parliament on the bottle was a "symbol of Britishness" being exploited.

But parent firm Heinz said there are no plans to remove the picture.

Production will move to the Netherlands when its plant at Aston in Birmingham shuts with the loss of 125 jobs.

'Not good enough'

HP Sauce was first served in a Houses of Parliament restaurant in the 19th Century.

But the MPs say the sauce should now only be made available if the jobs are reinstated, or if the picture of Parliament is removed from the label.

I wrote to the chief executive of Heinz saying... you shouldn't be exploiting a symbol of Britishness
Lorely Burt, MP

Ms Burt said: "They think they're getting a logo which everyone associates with Britishness. Technically it's within the law, (but) it's not within the spirit of the law.

"I wrote to the chief executive of Heinz, saying you're making 125 jobs redundant and you shouldn't be exploiting a symbol of Britishness for your own ends.

"He wrote back and politely said no - 'we are putting the country of origin on the label' but in tiny words that's not good enough."

The motion has also been signed by Birmingham Perry Barr MP Khalid Mahmood, Hereford MP Paul Keetch and Colchester MP Bob Russell.

'No plans'

Ms Burt said a copy of the motion has gone to all West Midlands MPs and when she has enough signatures, it will go to the Commons' administrative committee.

Heinz has faced a furious reaction in Birmingham from workers, union leaders and MPs over its decision to close the plant next March.

A spokesman for Heinz has said: "This picture (Parliament) represents the historic usage of HP Sauce in the restaurant at the Houses of Parliament.

"It's a trademark image. There are no plans to remove it.

"It will be made clear on the label that the sauce is manufactured in the Netherlands."

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