AS the debate rumbles on over setting a minimum price for alcohol, the British Medical Association has shown itself to be a bastion of moral fortitude.

Heartily backing the move, which has found favour with the Prime Minister, it spoke out against the “scourge of alcohol abuse” and has lobbied against supermarkets selling cheap booze as a marketing ploy.

Such thundering suggested the body’s doctors and medical students would never breach the 21 or 14 units a week men’s and women’s alcohol guidelines.

So it was something of a surprise to hear the BMA runs its own exclusive wine club – the Charles Hastings Wine Club – with special deals including fine wines sold below retail price.

While The Capitalist would never suggest even its “vin ordinaire” would be near the suggested 45p a unit minimum price level, its knockdown prices and organised wine and pub tours do seem to smack of uninhibited imbibing.

Not so, said the BMA, stressing that it does not disapprove of alcohol per se – as long as drinkers practise sensible consumption.

That’s a feat that appears less likely for those other decision makers – the politicians.

Latest reports reveal a total of £1.33m was spent in the House of Commons bars in the year ending 31 March 2011.

And with subsidised prices set at around £2.55 for a malt whisky, Cointreau liqueur or Grand Marnier and £2.35 for a glass of decent quality wine, well... it would seem rude to say no.