I’ve always loved pubs. I don’t know why. I’ve just always loved pubs, ever since I was a child (of course it was ginger beer, crisps and pickled eggs in those days…now very similar, just not so much ginger!). I love the unique institution that is the British public house. Real pubs, proper pubs in their many types in all different kinds of communities and locations in this great country of ours.
Pubs are at the heart of our communities. Pubs are part of our history and our heritage as a nation. Yet as a nation we are standing by and watching so many close, that need not close and accepting excuses from companies who have an interest in closing them – and preventing someone else running them – and from politicians who use (or accept) excuses as to why not to allow other people to take and run them.
I am Chair of the British Pub Confederation, I was also the founder of the Parliamentary Save the Pub Group and a Top 40 CAMRA campaigner of all time, as voted for by CAMRA members and I’ve won 3 national Campaigner of the Year awards. I’ve played a key role many of the in the successful campaigns for greater protection for pubs in the planning system, to end the beer duty escalator and masterminded the campaign for the statutory Pubs Code market rent only option for tied pubco landlords. I chaired the successful and award nominated Fair Deal for Your Local campaign and from that we set up the British Pub Confederation, bringing together 13 pub sector organisations to campaign for pubs and publicans, to ensure that the voice of pubs, publicans and pub campaigners is heard, not just the corporate voices of the pub owning companies and producers. We speak for pubs, we support pubs, we love pubs.
There is much more to do – and much of it could be done simply – with the political will. I will continue to campaign to make these things happen and to stop so many pubs closing that need not close; and yes, I will carry on visiting pubs and enjoying each different one in towns, villages and cities up and down this pub loving land!