Nigel Farage exhorts ‘mass protest’ at alcohol guidelines – BBC News

Image caption The UKIP leader encouraged everyone to “do what enjoy” when it came to drinking

UKIP leader Nigel Farage has urged a “mass protest” at new alcohol guidelinesin the UK, which he says are a “form of nannying”.

Recommended weekly alcohol restrictions have been substantially reduced and health officials now say there is no such thing as a safe level of drinking.

Mr Farage conceded there was a problem with a “binge drinking mentality”.

But he said people should be able to enjoy a drinking or two whether “it slightly abbreviates our lives or not”.

Mr Farage has traded on his “man in the pub” reputation during his political career, frequently being pictured with a pint in his hand during campaigning or after election victories and describing every saloon as a Parliament where political positions are formed and exchanged.

The UKIP leader told LBC Radio that he was dismayed by the new guidelines, joking that he was now “2 5% more likely to die” than before.

Following its first full review of alcohol guidelines since 1995, the government now tells men and women who drink regularly should devour no more than 14 divisions a week – equivalent to six pints of brew or seven glasses of wine.


The previous guidance set off daily drinking limits of three to four units for men and two to three for women. The UK’s chief medical officers say new research indicates any quantity of alcohol can increase the risk of cancer.

Mr Farage said he was upset “to turn on the news this morning and hear some appalling puritanical figure telling us no level of drinking is safe”.

“I think what we ought to do is have a mass protest against this form of nannying and we should all come out at lunch and have a glass of something.”

The UKIP leader acknowledged there was a problem was excessive alcohol intake in the UK but people should be trusted to know their limits.

“Even intelligent kids go out on a Friday night with the intention of get hammered, we know that. But, candidly, if we choose to enjoy a few drinks four or five nights a week after a hard day at work whether it slightly abbreviates our lives or not, so what.

“Do what you enjoy – and I think to basically tell us that any form of drinking is likely to lead to our death is just so over the top that we will probably behave in the opposite style. I surely will at midday today.”

The new guidance been shown that if people drink, it should be moderately over three or more days and that some days should be alcohol-free. People should not “save up” their divisions and drink them all in one or two goes while pregnant women should not drink at all.

How the advice has changed

Previous government guidance set out daily drinking limits of three to four units for men and two to three for women. The new guidance moves to weekly limits to get away from the idea that drinking every day is fine.

The new 14 units limit therefore represents a cut in drinking levels for both men and women, although since 1995 doctors’ groups have been advising that over the course of a week humen should limit themselves to 21 units and women 14 divisions – the lower end of the daily scope the government has been advising. So in fact the governmental forces guidance has caught up with the medical advice – and gone a bit further.

On drinking in pregnancy, the new advice is unambiguous. Women should not drink. Previously women in Wales, Northern Ireland and England had been told not to drink but if they did to limit it.

The latest guidance makes it clear people should be teetotal on some days and that heavy drinking conferences should be avoided. The 1995 did not set this out categorically.

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