The company that runs a pub in south London has apologised after one of its staff refused to serve a group of UKIP campaigners, calling them “disgusting”. Stonegate Pubs has offered the party activists a free meal to make up for their treatment at the Rectory pub in Purley in the borough of Croydon.
According to the Croydon Advertiser, the six activists, including the party’s candidate for Purley, Georgina Guillam, had been campaigning ahead of the local and European elections, handing out leaflets in Purley Piazza, opposite the pub.
Afterwards, they decided to head into the pub to have a drink. They had removed their rosettes and packed their materials away before entering, but the barman still took exception to their presence. Activist Kathleen Garner said: “[Georgina] walked up to the bar to get some drinks and [the barman] just said, ‘You are Ukip, you are disgusting’, and refused to serve her.
“I could not believe it and went up to the bar and he said to me again ‘you are disgusting’.
“We were not proselytising; as far as we were concerned that was our private belief. We had not gone in there to try and persuade people to join Ukip. It is the thought police, and even if it is legal, it is certainly not an acceptable way to behave. You should certainly not be able to discriminate against people on grounds of their politics.
“The way you think is the way you think and life is going to become very unpleasant if people are going to discriminate against you for that.”
She added that the barman was “quite unpleasant about it”.
Mrs Garner complained to Stonehouse pubs, who have since offered a full apology and disciplined the barman. A spokesman said: “We would like to make clear the company has no affiliations to any political party.”
The candidate, Ms Guillam, went on to poll 552 votes, finishing behind Labour and the Conservatives, but ahead of the Liberal Democrats.