How to help ensure that pubs and independent breweries retain a voice in parliament after June 2017
If ever there was an MP who worked consistently hard for the pub trade, it has to be Julian Huppert. Not content with winning a "Parliamentary Beer Champion" award in 2014, Julian went on to win another in 2015, as well as being awarded Cambridge & District CAMRA’s "Real Ale Champion" for 2014. The parliamentary award, from the British Beer and Pub Association and the Society of Independent Brewers, supports MPs who have gone the extra mile to support Britain’s brewing and pub industries.
You might imagine that supporting the pub trade would be something which would interest every MP. Sadly, this has not been the case, with independent pubs and breweries having had an increasingly hard time, with very little support from our elected representatives, over many years. It's only been in this parliament - indeed, only in the past couple of years - that the tide has begun to turn.
From early in his parliamentary career, Julian lobbied government for a change in the law which would give local authorities the power to prevent the demolition or change of use of pubs without planning permission. But perhaps his biggest success was as part of the group of MPs led by Greg Mulholland who encouraged many others to become supporters of the "Fair Deal For Your Local" campaign.
As a result of this, MPs voted to introduce a "market rent only" option for licensees tied to the large pub companies – a move that the Fair Deal For Your Local campaign says will "secure the future of the Great British Pub". It was a huge parliamentary effort, inflicting a rare defeat on the government thanks to MPs of all major parties.
Ladies & gentlemen, we have just made history. The market rent only option was passed by MPs 284 - 269. Thanks for everything! #voteforpubs— CAMRA (@CAMRA_Official) November 18, 2014
Of course, there's an enormous amount of work still to do if the death of the traditional pub is to be avoided. But as the vote in 2014 showed, while government remains in thrall to big business, it's going to take crusading MPs to stand up for the trade ...and for pub-goers too.
Yes, there is, whether you're an individual or an organisation, and whether you're in Cambridge or not. Most important of all is encouraging people to vote for Julian Huppert. Even if you're not in Cambridge, you may know people who are. Remind them that despite what the media would have us believe, we're not voting for the next prime minister, we're voting for our local MP. The importance of supporting pubs won't need any explanation, but not everyone realises the importance of Julian Huppert's Election to the future of the nation's pubs.
Email friends and colleagues a link to this page, or tweet a link to it. Share this page on Facebook. Or link to some of the articles below. You could even blog about the subject. This transcends party politics and is about the future of our pubs. Every message and every conversation helps - yours as much as anyone's.