British MP urges wine sell-off to cut the deficit

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A British lawmaker called Wednesday on the government to sell off its wine collection to help reduce the budget deficit, as he revealed it contains bottles worth tens of thousands of pounds.

Tom Watson, a member of the opposition Labour party, revealed that the wine cellar contains a bottle of Chateau Petrus 1978 worth more than £2,500 ($3,900 dollars, 2,900 euros), among other top vintages.

Watson said Prime Minister David Cameron's Conservative-Liberal Democrat coalition government should sell off the best wines as part of its cost-cutting drive to pay off a record budget deficit.

"They should sell the good stuff to make ends meet. As the economy heads back into recession nobody will serious believe that we are all in this together when ministers are quaffing wines at 200 pounds a bottle," he said.

Next to a bottle of Chateau Latour 1955, worth about 1,000 pounds, is a note reading: "Drink on v. special occasions. Spectacular: no need now to hasten rundown of tiny stock. 'The essence of wonderful claret'. Fresh and lovely."

Meanwhile a bottle of Chateau Palmer 1975, which costs upwards of 120 pounds, is described as a "really old-fashioned style claret, rich and excellent with some austerity".

One unnamed prime minister writes that a Chateau Margaux 1961 is "silky".

There are also a number of bottles of champagne on the list, which Watson obtained after a year-long battle with government officials, including magnums of Krug 1982, and Louis Roederer Brut from 1990.

© 2011 AFP

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