Did she lie? Well, we won't know for sure until the transcript is available, but unless she is incredibly stupid and being manipulated by others who are very happy to do so, she did in her article at Politics Home this morning.
Wade through it to find your personal favourite Alcohol Concern-founded sleight of hand stat, but her financial reasoning is extremely easy to debunk. Incontrovertibly.
The fact is that when alcohol is too cheap, more people die or wreak havoc on those around them and the rest of society picks up the tab.She is very much against this, natch, and wants to match or beat the Scottish, as she tweeted earlier today.
This was as true for gin pricing in Hogarth’s Britain as it is with pocket money alcohol today at around 17p per unit.
She then goes on to say that this is nothing to be worried about. Oh no, this will cost responsible drinkers the square root of peanuts, so it will.
[...] even if the minimum unit price was set at 50p, would only increase the bill for moderate drinkers by £12 per year.OK, we have the figures as stated by Wollaston, let's now do the maths.
I can't find the product which sells at 17p per unit, but then Wollaston is pretty vague about it too. So let's go for the cheapest supermarket product at mysupermarket.co.uk, Tesco's Value range
This works out at 3.52 units, at an individual price of 19.88p per unit. Sticking rigidly to the government's absurdly low weekly limits - surely the epitome of a 'moderate' drinker - would see an intake of 21 units.
Currently, that would cost a low income family (after all, who else would drink the stuff) £4.17. Under Wollaston's plan, it would be £10.50. Now, last time I looked there were 52 weeks in the year, which would mean an increase - just for one adult member of the family - of £329.16!
Hey! I'm using Sarah's chosen examples, remember. No cherry-picking here.
Not convinced? How about something more realistic, then? Tesco also do a 4% own brand at £5.94 for twelve 500ml cans. This is 24 units, only a tad over the strict individual limits, and would result in a yearly addition to a single man's domestic shopping bill of £6.06 per week, or £315.12 per year.
So, two adults, drinking within government guidelines, would be penalised to the tune of £500-£600 by Wollaston's personal crusade. Far in excess of any annual increase in energy bills advanced by even the most pessimistic of sources in recent months.
Of course, there is one way that Wollaston's figures could add up. That being if she wasn't comparing like with like at all. Even remotely.
The only explanation is that she is using an example of the stuff poor people drink to come up with the 'shocking' 17p per unit, while reverting to what people actually drink - if they have the money - for the nice, calm, £12 increase in annual cost. In which case, there isn't much of a problem to begin with.
Unless her definition of 'moderate' really is less than one unit per week, or half a pint of Carlsberg ... between a married couple!
A Tory MP lying to parliament - or at the very least being a sad sock puppet - and severely punishing lower paid 'hard-working families' should have lefties occupying Twitter for quite some time. But then, they quite like the idea of the control minimum alcohol pricing gives them if they get back into power, so they won't.
If you're a man/woman on modest means - even if adhering obediently to the state's arbitrary guidelines on alcohol - you're in for a financial punishment no matter the colour of the governing party's literature.