A political row has erupted after Eastbourne MP Stephen Lloyd failed to vote for a clause on a bill which offered new protections for local publicans and gave them a fairer deal.
The Labour Party’s candidate for Eastbourne in next year’s General Election, Jake Lambert, said he was disappointed at Mr Lloyd.
Following a report into the industry by the cross-party BIS Select Committee in 2010, Labour has campaigned alongside a broad coalition of groups in the industry to call for greater protection for local pubs and put a stop to unfair treatment and restrictive practices by so called ‘pubcos’.
Mr Lambert said that despite several of Mr Lloyd’s Lib Dem colleagues defying their whip to vote for this new clause, he failed to back it.
“Stephen Lloyd had the opportunity to vote for new measures which would help support local landlords, and instead chose to avoid the vote again and to allow the large pub companies to continue to exploit their tenants,” said Mr Lambert.
“Some 27 pubs close every week and 57 per cent of landlords tied to a large pubco earn less than £10,000 a year. Here, Hampden Park ward no longer has a single pub after the Parkfield was turned into a supermarket. These are scandals which must be addressed and so I was proud that Labour MPs voted to make this important change.”
Stephen Lloyd was not available for comment when contacted by the Gazette.
The Parkfield in Hampden Park was the latest pub to close and was recently converted in to a Co-op. The Drive Pub in Victoria Drive also closed some months ago and is set to open as a Sainsbury’s supermarket.
Toby Perkins, Labour’s Shadow Pubs Minister said, “Labour has led calls for a proper statutory code with teeth on pub companies, giving tenants the protection they need and putting an end to the unfair treatment they’ve received from large pub companies. Our plans have won support from a broad coalition of campaigners. Ministers must now act immediately to ensure there is a proper statutory code with a free-of-tie option to protect local pubs.”