Northern Powerhouse rules the roost at National Kebab Awards

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After 2016 brought Brexit and Trump, it’s proving to be a particularly fractious time in politics. However, there are some things that can still transcend the issues of the day and bring people together — namely kebabs. On Sunday night, MPs from across the House put aside their differences as they gathered for the annual British Kebab Awards. Ben Howlett, Barry Gardner, Ruth Smeeth and Simon Danczuk were among the meat lovers who descended on the Westminster Park Plaza Hotel to celebrate the best of the kebab industry.

Notably absent from the soiree was last year’s guest of honour Jeremy Corbyn. After a by-election loss in Copeland, the Labour leader decided to give the offer of a night on the tiles a miss. Happily Simon Danczuk — who is currently suspended from Labour — did his best to make up for his one-time leader’s absence. ‘When Corbyn was here last year, he kept talking about vegetables,’ Danczuk mused. ‘I’m more about the meat. I like to get a chicken doner with a good dose of chilli.’

While the awards organiser Ibrahim Dogus used his speech to warn that the ‘uncertainty of the Brexit process is damaging our economy’, Andrew Percy — the minister for the Northern Powerhouse — was on hand to represent the government at the event. Taking to the stage, the MP for Brigg and Goole praised all the nominees for their valuable contribution to the UK economy — before declaring that ‘kebabs in the North are the best’. However, with the government’s business rates hike expected to hit many kebab shops hard, Mr S suspects Percy will have to try a bit harder in the months to come to keep the industry on side.

Dawn Butler

Ruth Smeeth

Ben Howlett

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