On 20 January 2014, Dowd made a speech in the House of Commons during a debate on the Intellectual Property Bill, stating that he had asked for Worcester Sauce whilst eating a meal at the Hare and Billet pub in Blackheath and that he was provided with Henderson’s Relish. Dowd used Henderson’s as an example of “parasitic packaging”, implying in the debate that it was attempting to pass itself off as Lea and Perrins.
Henderson’s Relish is well known within Sheffield and parts of Yorkshire and has been manufactured there for over 100 years. Dowd upset supporters of the sauce; the Sheffield Central member of parliament, Paul Blomfield, offered to bring a bottle to Parliament and invite Dowd for a meal with him using it – an invitation accepted by Dowd.
Simon Freeman – the managing director of Henderson’s – jokingly stated that he would order “an internal investigation to find out how it got out of Yorkshire”; a local newspaper, the Sheffield Star, launched a twitter campaign with the hashtag #Hendogate to defend Henderson’s, attracting support locally. Dowd later stated his “amazement” at the backlash his comments had caused, which he said included threats of violence. The assistant manager of the Hare and Billet – Adam Beaston – claimed that Dowd branded Henderson’s a “blatant copy” of Lea and Perrins at the time but that he warned the MP that such a view would be “blasphemy in Sheffield”.