Community Pubs Minister Bob Neill is the latest MP to pledge to work behind the bar in support of the pub trade.
He is the first Government minister to agree to take on the challenge, which has been accepted by around 20 MPs. He follows the lead of All-Party Parliamentary Beer Group (APPBG) chair Andrew Griffiths, MP for Burton, who has called on MPs to support the trade by working a shift in their local pub.
Support for the initiative is growing and the APPBG is extending the call to MPs who are not a member of the parliamentary group.
Griffiths said: "The good thing about working behind the bar scheme is that Bob Neill has committed to do it and this will send a great message. We need to make it easier for pubs and MPs to get connected. We are writing to every MP, whether they are a member of the beer group or not, to ask them to get involved.
"This is a great way to make a personal connection between the MP and the pub and is a great way for the publican to explain to them the pressures they face."
He said that in the longer term this relationship will allow licensees to lobby their MPs on other issues. "The Government wants to listen to the views of licensees," said Griffiths. "We can use the behind-the-bar scheme to muster support on a range of issues that affect the pub trade."
Griffiths is fighting the case for the pub trade on three main issues — duty, supermarket pricing and regulation. Griffiths added: "The Government says it wants to bring in the 'one in one out' rule. We need to pub-proof policies.
"I am lobbying Government to be much more pub aware. The community pub is central to the 'Big Society'.
"Generally, I think across Government that ministers get it and want to help. Fundamentally we need to make it profitable to run a pub and a brewery. Until we get this we are just tinkering around the edges."
• Have you got an MP working in your pub? Let us know and send a photo of him or her at work. Send email@example.com an email.