• Thu. Jun 13th, 2024

Labour councillor blasts MP over “totally insensitive” family pub lunch post amid cost of living crisis

Byoxfordnewspaper

Aug 31, 2022

Witney MP Robert Courts faced furious criticism after he shared pictures of himself enjoying a family Sunday lunch at a West Oxfordshire pub.

Mr Courts praised the "outstanding" Sunday lunch with the family at the Red Lion in Northmoor with "food and excellent service as ever".

The post prompted Labour councillor Joy Aitman, West Oxfordshire District Council cabinet member for Stronger, Healthy Communities, to fume: “It always surprises me that MPs don’t think about the optics of their posts.

"It is lovely that Mr Courts is enjoying time with his family, however eating an expensive meal while there is a growing number of families seeking help is totally insensitive."

She added: "I have just visited the Witney Fridge where they are currently boxing up food to deliver to families who struggle during the holidays to feed their children. An extra meal for a child each day really stretches an already small budget."

And she suggested: "Perhaps a picture of Mr Courts delivering a box of food to the Foodbank would be more appropriate."

Oxford Mail:

The exchange was screenshotted and tweeted by Tory district councillor Ben Woodruff, who commented: "So we should just shut down all pubs and restaurants then?

"The ⁦Labour Party cabinet member on West Oxfordshire District Council ⁩seems to think it’s a crime for my local MP to be supporting a local pub at an extremely difficult time."

Mr Courts said it was "quite extraordinary to be criticised by a Labour Councillor, who is Cabinet Member for 'Healthy Communities', for supporting a local community-owned pub, especially at a time when pubs are too being impacted by a rise in global energy costs."

He said the award-winning pub sources produce from local farmers and local breweries, prices are reasonable and the criticism "raises significant concerns about West Oxfordshire District Council's attitude towards our area's hospitality sector".

"Instead of making cheap political attacks and passing moral judgement on those supporting local community-owned pubs at this difficult time, I would encourage the District Council to start championing businesses which provide jobs for local people and benefit our area's economy."