Pub landlord's threat to bar MP David Gauke over business rate remarks

The oldest pub in the UK is calling for MP for Berkhamsted and Tring, David Gauke, to be barred from all pubs if he does not apologise for comments on business rates.

Tuesday, 21st February 2017, 2:19 pm
Updated Wednesday, 1st March 2017, 9:30 am
David Gauke

It comes after Mr Gauke, who is also Chief Secretary to the Treasury, described criticism from firms of soaring rates as “scaremongering” in an article by The Guardian.

Businesses are furious about a clause which could prevent them from appealing expected rate rises – even if they can prove they are wrong.

Ye Olde Fighting Cocks in St Albans has asked people to share the Guardian article on Facebook and whip up interest for a national petition to ban him from every pub in the country.

Its landlord Christo Tofalli said: “My gloves are off. David Gauke is not welcome in my pub, until he retracts the scaremongering statement, apologises and rejigs his figures because they are wrong.

“If they don’t, they are going to have a national campaign against them.

“We are a small pub, but we pack a punch. And if David Gauke wants to take us on, he’ll be taking on every pub in the country.”

Mr Tofalli said business rates for his pub are due to soar by 47 per cent over the next five years.

That works out at having to sell 7,000 pints a year to make a profit.

Mr Tofalli would welcome the resignation of Mr Gauke as well as communities secretary Sajid Javid over what he describes as “fake news”.

“They don’t know what they are talking about,” he said.

“They need to retract the statement and come into some pubs and talk to people.

“If pubs are against them, that’s a lot of votes. Didn’t they learn anything from Brexit?”

This newspaper contacted Mr Gauke’s office but he was unavailable for comment.