Tuesday, 10 July 2007

Rounding on the Brewers - Is this the Tory "Clause 4" Moment?

Those who know me well will be aware that I was born into a pub (The Prince Albert in Deal) and grew up in the Oddfellows Arms in Folkestone. During those years the brewing lobby (particularly the "Portman Group" members) gave not inconsiderable sums to the Conservative Party.

Arthur Guinness was a Conservative MP as was Samuel Whitbread. Many Tories also were strongly opposed to Lloyd George's licensing law proposals during the First World War which shaped pub licensing for more than 70 years.

The proposals from the Tories to raise duty on beer by 7 pence is nothing short of astonishing given the historical links going back 2 centuries. Could this quietly be the Conservatives "Clause 4" moment when they finally round on the brewing lobby?

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