Beer Group chairman MP Andrew Griffiths defends undue influence claims over minimum pricing

By Michelle Perrett

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags All-party parliamentary beer United kingdom Member of parliament

Griffiths claims BMJ accusations read like a 'conspiracy theorists internet blog'
Griffiths claims BMJ accusations read like a 'conspiracy theorists internet blog'
The chairman of the All-Party Parliamentary Beer Group (APPBG) MP Andrew Griffiths has defended the brewing industry against accusations from the British Medical Journal (BMJ) that it had an undue influence on the Government over minimum pricing.

The BMJ claims its own investigation reveals the “extraordinary level of access” granted to the alcohol industry which scuppered Government plans to introduce a minimum price for alcohol.

The BMJ has also examined the activities of three all-party parliamentary groups for the beer, spirits and wine industries and said it discovered evidence of their extensive involvement with the alcohol sector.

The BMJ also highlighted records showing that the All-Party Parliamentary Beer Group, which has 300 MPs and 100 members of the House of Lords as members, received £40,000 in donations from eight companies, including Heineken, Greene King, Diageo, and Molson Coors last year.

However, Griffiths has defended the group and the industry.

“The article by BMJ reads a bit like a conspiracy theorists internet blog. It is odd that the brewing industry is accused of having an undue influence on Government through the APPBG when I as its chairman and my predecessor in the previous Parliament MP John Grogan were actively campaigning in favour of minimum pricing.”

He told the Publican’s Morning Advertiser that the APPBG has been “scrupulously open and transparent” in the way it operates.

“It is a shame a concoction like this attempts to paint completely reputable activities as somehow underhand or sinister.

"I am absolutely sure that the health lobby were just as active in pressing their case and to suggest something sinister and underhand went on is completely untrue.

"I had a meeting with Prime Minister about minimum pricing but unfortunately I failed in my attempts to convince him as I was lobbying in favour.”

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