AS the Pubs Code was being finally scrutinised yesterday... As THIS committee room 9 final OK before ministerial sign off of the Pubs Code meeting happened at 2.30pm (I arrived late for this because I had a sudden pub opportunity to chase up) yesterday 13 July, ANOTHER meeting concerning pubs was gathering pace to take place immediately after Anna Soubry finished here... , completely unannounced or broadcast to anyone on the PUB stakeholder side of the pub sector - as I say, I arrived late and went through security at St Stephen's entrance at 2.55pm I bumped into Andy Slee (ex big man Punch Taverns) who was ahead of me on the conveyor belt... 'Andy! How you doing? You here on Pub Business?' 'Well, yes I am Mark, and what are you here for?' 'Final reading of the Pubs Code. Are you going up to Committee Room 9?' 'er, No. I'm here for something else'... hmmmm
Anyway. I arrived just as the meeting in this video ended and the whole was passed without objection for signing off officially by The Minister next Tuesday and coming into law by the end of July. (See you next Tuesday anyone?)
Anyway. Cut a long story short. I went down to the Strangers Bar with Simon Clarke and Tom Burke and we had some pints of fine ale (NOT subsidised beer by the way) on the terrace and discussed ten years of campaigning. As we were about to leave we were joined, unexpectedly, by:
Andrew Griffiths the right honourable Member for Marston's, Punch and Molson Coors, oops sorry, MP for Burton and Uttoxeter, Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Beer Group APPBG
Tim Page and Jonathan Mail, CEO and Marketing comms and policy director or something amorphous at Campaign for Real Ale CAMRA
Kate Nicholls, CEO Association of Licensed Multiple Retailers ALMR
Andy Slee ex Punch Taverns external affairs now 'independent put trade consultant'
Nick Stafford Commercial Director Society of Independent Brewers SIBA
John Longden CEO Pub is the Hub PitH
Mike Clist, MD British Institute of Innkeepers BII
and a couple of others who got by me without me being able to clock them (about fifteen in total) so by omission they MUST have been the British Beer and Pub Association... BBPA the Pubco's and Big Brewers' trade propaganda poodle followed onto the terrace a few minutes later by none other than
Now WHAT were they all meeting up together to talk about? It wasn't the small talk Kate Nichols and John Longden and Mike Clist told me they were talking about... (Andrew Griffiths, Tim Page and Jonathan Mail pointedly avoided us)
I cannot convey how surprised they all were to see Simon Clarke and me... (none were shocked by Tom because none of them has met him before) 'OH! HOW ARE YOU? What a nice surprise to see YOU here!"