THE House of Lords splashed more than £70,000 on booze in the run-up to Christmas last year.

New figures show the upper house – which has a number of bars and restaurants subsidised by the taxpayer – spent £73,823.90 buying alcohol for resale in its outlets.

This included more than £5,000 on champagne and £47,000 on wine, as well as almost £12,000 on beer.

SNP MSP Clare Haughey said the spending demonstrated “the only thing happening in the upper house last Christmas was Lords-a-leaping to the bar”.

She added: “The public will be shocked that these unelected peers are picking up their £300 a day and then getting merry at the taxpayer’s expense.

“But they have very little of use to do and plenty free time to socialise at the public’s expense, so it’s no surprise that they are spending their time and public money on champagne and sherry.

“It’s time for this useless and archaic institution to be abolished for good – and the continued drain on the public purse underlines the case for Scotland to govern itself.”

Figures released to the SNP under Freedom of Information laws show £37,507.15 was spent on alcohol in the House of Lords during November last year, followed by £36,316.75 in December.

As well as the tens of thousands dished out on beer, champagne and wine, the upper house splashed £7,588.70 on spirits and £1,230.20 on aperitifs and liqueurs.

Just £35.40, meanwhile, was spent on fortified wine.

All the alcohol was purchased by the House’s Catering and Retail Service for resale in its outlets, where it is understood it is sold at a profit.

As well as the Lords’ Bar, which is open to parliamentary pass holders and up to two guests, the House of Lords boasts the Bishops Bar, Barry Room, Home Room, Millbank House Cafeteria, Peers’ Dining Room and the River Restaurant.

Earlier this year it was revealed peers – who are entitled to £300 a day for turning up – helped rack up a £1million bill for alcohol and food in 2016.

They have previously lodged complaints about the standard of food served in the House of Lords, raising concerns about “unadorned” fish dishes and yoghurt that was “too heavy”.

James Price, campaign manager at the TaxPayers’ Alliance, criticised the spending on alcohol.

He said: “It’s completely baffling that wealthy peers still enjoy heavily taxpayer subsidised food and drink especially when the fare on offer is much fancier than what most taxpayers can hope to afford.

“Politicians should remember where their money comes from and whom they serve next time they sit down to enjoy an expensive bottle of wine.”

A spokesman for the House of Lords said it was incorrect to suggest peers had “very little of use to do”.

He said: “Clare Haughey’s comments are ill-informed about the House of Lords and the important role it plays in the UK legislative process.

“Rather than having ‘little of use to do’, in the 2016/17 parliamentary session, the House of Lords considered 5,185 amendments to legislation and made 2,270 improvements to laws that effect every UK citizen.

“Members of the House of Lords also asked the Government more than 7,000 questions.

“If Ms Haughey wants to understand the contribution the House of Lords makes to how our laws are made there is plenty of information available on our website.”

The parliament website insists there has been a “consistent reduction in the level of the House of Lords catering and retail subsidy since 2007/08”.