As the UK comes out of a second lockdown and different areas enter tier systems confusion has arisen as what will constitute a substantial meal in pubs.

Drinkers who want to visit their local pub in the coming month will have to also order a ‘substantial meal’ as well as their favourite beverage to comply with the new Covid-19 laws. I.E. you can’t just order a plate of chips or some peanuts.

However, what does constitute a ‘substantial meal’? For instance, something like a roast dinner would obviously be fine but according to environment secretary George Eustice so would a scotch egg.

Speaking to Nick Ferrari on LBC Radioon Monday, Eustice said :

I think a Scotch egg would probably count as a substantial meal if there were table service. This is a term that's understood in licensing - you can have the concept of a table license for alcohol that also requires you to serve a substantial meal.

Right then, everybody, you’re allowed to go to the pub as long as you order something as substantial as a scotch egg. Run free my friends. Drink your ales and scoff your scotch eggs. Story over.

Except that wasn’t what the housing secretary Robert Jenrick said a few weeks before.  Also appearing on LBC’s Nick Ferrari show on 13 October, Jenrick said that he didn’t believe that a Cornish pasty by just itself would constitute a ‘substantial meal’ and should be served with chips or a side salad. 

If you would expect to go into that restaurant or pub normally and order a plated meal, at the table of a Cornish pasty with chips or side salad or whatever it comes with, then that's a normal meal.

Now we’re hardly culinary experts but apart from the obvious there isn’t much difference in size between a Cornish pasty and a scotch egg as they are both clearly snacks no matter how much you dress them up.

As you can imagine this has caused a substantial amount of confusion.

To make matters worse, Michael Gove (you just knew it was gonna be him, didn’t you?) waded into the argument and made things even more confusing with several contradictory statements. Again appearing on LBC, Gove joked that he would enjoy two scotch eggs with ‘pickle on the side’ but only as a starter therefore it’s not a substantial meal.

However, just an hour later when speaking to ITV News he said that a scotch egg is a substantial meal. What are we supposed to believe?

Just to clarify; we are now 10 months into the pandemic, there are 24 days to go before Christmas and a month until Brexit and the Tory government has managed to get itself into a debacle over Scotch eggs…

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