It comes after the All-Party Parliamentary Save the Pub Group (STPG) wrote to BBPA chief executive Brigid Simmonds asking her to clarify several statements that she made during a recent parliamentary evidence session.
The letter penned by STPG chair Greg Mulholland MP and vice-chair Grahame Morris MP, said: “We are very concerned to note that you have made several statements which are not only misleading, but in some cases may actually be untrue.
“We are concerned that for some statements you surely must have known what you were saying was not correct.”
Mulholland and Morris said that during a hearing held by the Business, Innovation and Skills Select Committee, Simmonds claimed that the Industry Framework Code (IFC) is “legally binding” and that BBPA member Enterprise Inns “are quite clear that the code is legally binding”.
However, they pointed to an Enterprise Inns' barrister saying the opposite during a court case in April.
The letter also accused Simmonds of misleading the committee by saying that the voluntary code was not in place at the time of the breaches the case referred to. It asked Simmonds to correct or withdraw such statements.
Mulholland and Morris went on to criticise Simmonds’ comments on two separate BBC shows, referring to the how the tie “allows breweries in this country to exist” and that if licensees pay more for their beer, they will pay less for rent.
They said that these statements are not correct. “It is simply not true, as well as absurd, to say that brewers only ‘exist’ due to there being tied pubs,” the letter added.
In response to the letter, Simmonds agreed to clarify that the IFC was in place when the case was considered, but added: “this is not really relevant to the premise that the IFC is legally binding”.
She added: “You claim in your letter that I ‘also know that some legal opinion does not agree with this’. I have no knowledge of any legal opinion that suggests that the IFC is not legally binding.”
With regards to Simmonds’ comments on the BBC shows, she refuted claims that what she said was incorrect.
She wrote: “My comments on Radio 4… reflect the fact that the higher prices paid for tied supplies by tied tenants are reflected in the rent assessments, leading to a lower divisible balance from which a rent is then negotiated. This is a fundamental element of valuation.”
Simmonds added: “It is tendentious to suggest that I was claiming in the BBC interview that every brewery’s existence is dependent on the beer tie, and of course I was not. It is certainly the view of our members that the ending of the tie would result in the closure of breweries in the UK.”
Read the full letters below: