Good things come to those who wait - Ken Clarke tastes 25-year-old whisky after Tory victory in Moray

Written by John Johnston on 14 May 2019 in Diary

Ken Clarke has tasted victory after a Tory win in Moray allowed him to try a bottle of 25-year-old single malt.

The Rushcliffe MP paid a trip to the Glenfarclas distillery on Monday to savour a nip of whisky from a cask which he filled during an official visit 25-years-ago.

In 1994, the then-Chancellor pledged the single malt would remain untouched until the seat was won back by a Conservative MP - but was forced to wait until Douglas Ross' victory in the 2017 election before the opportunity arose for him to have a dram.

Mr Ross won the seat from the SNP's former Westminster leader Angus Robertson in the snap general election, but Mr Clarke chose to wait until a quarter-of-a-century to the day before travelling back to the distillery.

During his maiden speech, Mr Ross revealed the cask had been safely stored away since the visit, but said he was glad Moray's voters had decided the whisky had "matured for long enough".

“Everyone will have their favourite tipple from a Moray distillery, but one I’m particularly interested in at present currently sits in warehouse number one at Glenfarclas distillery," he told MPs.

“The cask that sits in warehouse number one was filled in 1994 by the Member of Parliament for Rushcliffe (Mr Clarke), who was also at the time Chancellor of the Exchequer.

“As he sealed the barrel, he stated that it could only be open and the whisky bottled when Moray once again elected a Conservative Member of Parliament."

The Father of the House admitted he had long forgotten about the barrel after the SNP's two decade hold on the seat, but was delighted to be reminded by Mr Ross that the dram was still waiting for him.

But Mr Clarke's original visit to the distillery has had its own impact on Parliamentary history after he chose to sip a single malt from the region during the delivery of his Budgets.

The odd tradition - which allows the Chancellor to drink alcohol during the budget speech - has been ignored by Mr Clarke's successors meaning a Glenfarclas dram is likely to be the last stiff drink to be consumed in the Commons chamber.

"It was a very enjoyable visit and I learnt a lot about the Scotch Whisky industry and every budget I gave after that, the glass of whisky which I used to make a bit of a prop of when I delivered my sound Budget, was Glenfarclas whisky as I'd so enjoyed my visit here," he said.

"I didn't think 25 years later I'd be visiting."

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