We have heard about the impact of Brexit on Marmite and Guiness, but there has been a strange silence about HP sauce. It got the name in 1895 after the inventor, a Nottingham grocer called Frederick Gibson Garton, heard his sauce was being served in a Palace of Westminster restaurant.
In the 1960s the association was strengthened after Mary Wilson, wife of the prime minister, told the Sunday Times: “If Harold has a fault, it is that he will drown everything with HP Sauce.” (source: Wikipedia)
At that time it was certainly available in the parliamentary eating places. I went with Bill Price, the MP for Rugby and later one of Wilson’s ministers, to get something to eat there.
Bill ordered two rolls overflowing with grated cheese, grabbed a bottle of HP sauce, opened up the rolls and poured what looked like half the bottle into them. For years after I could not eat HP sauce.
Certainly Bill was a man of unusual habits. Before becoming an MP he had been a reporter for the Birmingham Post in Leamington Spa where he was best remembered for breeding show mice in the office. Not long after he was elected I joined the Post: the person who showed me my office pointed out where Bill had kept his mice.
But that is digressing. For nearly a century HP sauce was owned and made in the English midlands. In 1988 it was sold to a French business which in 2005 passed the sauce to Heinz which quickly moved production to a factory in the Netherlands.
Marmite owner Unilever, blamed the impact of the reduced value of the pound following the referendum for increased raw material costs, when it tried to negotiate higher prices with Tesco. Guinness is worried about the impact Brexit on border crossings between the Irish republic and Northern Ireland (Irish Times). But I have heard nothing about the impact on HP Sauce. Perhaps it could be exempted from import tariffs if Brexit is hard.