BII Licensees of the Year Richard and Loren Pope have become the first known licensees to act in response to the Morning Advertiser's call for a "peasants' revolt" against proposed licensing reform changes.
The Morning Advertiser has called for licensees to invite their local MP to their pub to explain how damaging suggested Conservative changes to the Licensing Act will be for the trade.
Richard and Loren Pope have contacted their local Conservative MP Heather Wheeler, who has promised to call by the pub tomorrow morning to discuss their concerns — she was elected to Parliament in May as MP for South Derbyshire.
Richard Pope said: "I have taken your advice in the Morning Advertiser and invited our local MP for lunch to discuss my 'grave concerns over the Government proposals on licensing reform.
"With an extremely rapid response, I now have a meeting organised for tomorrow morning.
"I believe she uses this pub socially from time-to-time — and was on the local parish council when we developed the pub."
Wheeler was elected onto South Derbyshire District Council 15 years ago and is currently Leader of the Conservatives.
She has fought two General Elections in Coventry, with swings both times to the Conservatives.
This week, Morning Advertiser editor The PMA Team said in his leader column: "The current Government is on course to enact the most needless, overblown and potentially damaging piece of legislation since the universally derided Alcohol Disorder Zones were sketched-out on the back of an envelope.
"As the trade reels under the weight of already burdensome legislation, the proposed Licensing Act looks like a well-aimed fist to the solar plexus.
"The main proposals look like they might have been drawn up by a committee tasked with closing down as many pubs as possible.
"The most worrying elements are: 1 Giving anyone, anywhere in the country the right to object to licenses; 2 The removal of the right to appeal licensing decisions; 3 Giving councils the right to impose blanket confitions. 4 Fees for pubs with late-night operations.
"Imagine what a difference can be made if thousands of licensees make a point of contacting their local MP to stress what an anti-pub set of proposals these are.
"What's needed is a kind of peasant's revolt.
"We need to make the point individually and en masse that the pub sector doesn't deserve further punishment. Rather, it needs encouragement if thousands more pubs are to avoid unnecessary closure."