Mayor barred from every pub in town after hotel fracas

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The Independent Online

The Conservative mayor of a Somerset resort has been banned from every pub in the town after local landlords took exception to her behaviour in two hotels.

The Conservative mayor of a Somerset resort has been banned from every pub in the town after local landlords took exception to her behaviour in two hotels.

The Pub Watch scheme in Burnham-on-Sea barred Jacqueline Richards after she and her husband were banned by the hotels for allegedly getting too drunk at a civic reception for German dignitaries.

The blanket ban on Ms Richards, the Mayor of Burnham-on-Sea and Highbridge, prevents her from entering any of the town's 15 pubs for three months. Her husband, Stephen, is banned for a year. A Pub Watch spokesman said the decision was taken "with sadness" but "everyone has to own up to their mistakes, even if they were the mayor".

Ray Hill, who was responsible for the original ban on the couple, said the committee voted unanimously to extend it around the town.

"When we came to the meeting we were sensitive to the issue because she is a good mayor. But she must realise she must own up to her mistakes," he said. "It is very sad because she is a young mayor and she does a good job but whether you are a Prime Minister or whoever, if you are banned you are banned."

Pub Watch's action comes less than a month after the couple were barred from the Royal Clarence Hotel and Queen's Hotel in Burnham, where the Conservative Party holds its monthly meetings.

The hotels are owned by Mr Hill's company, Newstead Investments, and he said the Richards had to be marched out by doorman after the reception for visitors from Burnham's twin town, Fritzlaar. They were banned when they returned the day after and were involved in a fracas with staff, he said.

Yesterday Ms Richards, 40, said she had no idea why she and her husband were unwelcome in the town's pubs and insisted it had no impact on her ability to carry out her mayoral duties.

"I have the total support of my council. It is a personal matter and I believe it is being blown out of proportion. Under no circumstances would I resign. My diary is already full for the next three months and it will not deter me from doing a good job for the people of Burnham-on-Sea and Highbridge," she said.

Ms Richards gave her version of events at Mr Hill's hotels in a statement issued through her solicitor. It said she and her husband were invited to the Queen's Hotel for the evening and had then gone on to the Asylum Disco at the Royal Clarence Hotel, where Mr Richards was surrounded by three doormen who were so "menacing" that the couple left within 30 minutes.

Ms Richards denied they were asked to leave.

According to the statement, the next day a resident in the Queen's Hotel pushed Mr Richards, who tried to protect himself but was "hustled" into the kitchen by a doorman.

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