Legal challenge must force Government to follow evidence

By Ed Bedington contact

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Hugh osmond, Pubs, Government, Coronavirus, Legal, Legal action, High court

Industry leaders hope the launch of further High Court action against the government might help to reset thinking when it comes to handling the hospitality sector.

Speaking to The Morning Advertiser’s​ editor Ed Bedington, Hugh Osmond, who along with Manchester night czar Sacha Lord, is leading the legal challenge said he hoped it would forced government to act in line with evidence moving forward.

The judicial review was launched after Osmond, of Osmond Capital and founder of Punch Taverns, and Lord called on the government to present evidence as to why non-essential retail was being prioritised ahead of hospitality for reopening.

According to the pair, the Government failed to declare any new evidence to justify the delay to reopening for pubs and the case has now moved to the High Court.

Osmond said the threshold for success in the case was set to a very high bar, but he hoped the fact the case was being considered would compel Government to come back to the table and rethink the approach to hospitality.

Meaningful discussions

“One thing we’re hoping is that the government will engage with us and we can perhaps have a meaningful discussion about this, without the necessity of going through a full judicial review.

“Other than that, we’d like to see it expedited, as if it’s not, it becomes academic. If it’s not, we’d still like to achieve the requirement that Government has to show evidence in the future as justification for what they do. It sounds an amazing thing but we think it would be a very good thing if Government was forced to base its decisions on evidence.”

He also called on all operators in the trade to write to their MP on the issue and help lend the weight of their voices to the campaign. “If everyone who owns a pub writes to their MP, or drops them an email, it will all help. People think it's just a waste of time emailing their MP, but actually if they get 30 emails in their inbox it does make a difference.”

Related topics: Legislation

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