Friday July 17: Get your MP on board

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Pubs, Uk mps 2005-, Public house

MPs seeking to rehabilitate their images in their constituencies following the expenses scandal will be keen to be seen supporting local businesses....

MPs seeking to rehabilitate their images in their constituencies following the expenses scandal will be keen to be seen supporting local businesses.

But that's just one of a number of reasons why Publican readers have again found themselves pushing at an open door when it comes to getting their MPs in during Proud of Pubs Week - the activity we have been encouraging licensees to get behind on Friday July 17.

MPs lined up to come into pubs this week and find out the positive message about pubs include shadow licensing minister Tobias Ellwood, pensions minister Angela Eagle and once again, former Tory leader Michael Howard

MPs who got involved in Proud of Pubs Week in previous years have found it was a trip worth making - while many licensees have benefited from the valuable PR which has gone along with the visit.

Dr Brian Iddon, the MP for Bolton South, met with Jennifer Lyon at the Victoria Inn in Farnworth on a visit with a local councillor during last year's Proud of Pubs Week.

"We has such a good evening that we stayed all night", says Brian. "It was a cold July night but the pub filled up and was full when we left at 11.30 p.m. Jennifer Lyon, the landlady, who was expecting us made us extremely welcome.

"We met a lot of people that we already knew and came to the conclusion that this is a pretty friendly pub. I was impressed by Jennifer's professionalism. It felt a very safe environment to have a good night out, and the beer was pretty good too."

North Thanet MP Roger Gale called in at the Hussar in Garlinge, seeing the pub's positive contribution to its community firsthand.

Roger says: "I called on a good night when licensee Renny Dobbs' son Ben and John Wright had organised a charity night as part of a Kilimanjaro climb to raise funds for a local children's hospice and the pub was buzzing."

Gale also noted how the pub had risen to the challenge of the smoking ban by providing outdoor facilities and had been transformed inside with a new coffee bar and food facilities to attract new customers.

Other MPs visiting pubs over the last two Proud of Pubs Weeks have included the then-LibDem leader Sir Menzies Campbell in 2007, and last year licensing minister Gerry Sutcliffe who contacted The Publican personally to see if he could get involved after hearing the buzz around the campaign.

Jon Lowe at the Rose and Bowl Inn at Stacksteads, near Bacup in Lancashire, was impressed when local MP Janet Anderson came in during last year's Proud of Pubs Week. "She came in for Sunday lunch and a chat," he says.

"She stayed for two and a half hours, chatting about the smoking ban, tax and fuel prices, and how the credit crunch was affecting us."

Handling the meeting

As big as the issues facing pubs this year, the advice from the experts is that if your MP comes into your pub during Proud of Pubs Week you shouldn't turn the visit into a moanfest.

Proud of Pubs Week is about promoting the positive face of the pub trade and both the Campaign for Real Ale and the British Beer & Pub Association suggest that you think up a strategy in advance.

As well as an opportunity to set out your issues, a meeting with an MP will give you a chance to talk about all the great things pubs do, and give them something positive to take back to Westminster for the future.

And that's a message that could be heard any time - you may not have a politician coming into your pub during this year's Proud of Pubs Week, but if you're inspired by the week why not put in an invitation of your own later in the year?

Related topics: Legislation

Property of the week

The Hazeldene Hotel

- Tenancy

The Hazeldene Hotel is opposite the Famous Blacksmiths Shop in Gretna Green. With 11 letting rooms, it is in a prime location to offer fantastic...

Follow us

Pub Trade Guides

View more