Keighley-born MP is told he is not welcome at Great Northern

Eric Pickles

Eric Pickles

First published in News Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Photograph of the Author by

Keighley-born Cabinet minister Eric Pickles has been barred from one of the town’s pubs.

The Tory political heavyweight is not welcome in the Great Northern, says landlord Mickey Thompson.

And a photo of the former Bradford Council leader has been posted on the dartboard.

Mr Thompson, 42, has issued the ban in response to the Communities and Local Government Secretary’s comment on radio that he would not return to Yorkshire.

Mr Pickles, the MP for Brentwood and Ongar, was quoted by some press as saying on Desert Island Discs that he hated going back to his native county.

But Mr Pickles later insisted the confusion was caused by him saying “ain’t” which was mistaken for “hate”.

However Mr Thompson said that to put Yorkshire down was “not on”.

He intends raising the issue at a meeting of the local Pubwatch scheme and hopes to get the ban extended to other hostelries.

“We need people to bully up this great county and not put it down,” he said.

“There are people on the Pubwatch banned list for lesser offences than this.”

He added: “My mother is Irish but I am Keighley born and bred and I am fiercely proud of my roots.”

In response Mr Pickles, a former pupil of the former Greenhead School in Keighley, said he had spent most of his life as “a professional Yorkshireman dispensing northern wisdom to an occasionally receptive south”.

He said: “What I said was ‘Essex is my home and I ain't going back to Yorkshire’ - not the greatest use of English grammar I admit, but hardly an attack on the county of my birth. It is clear enough on the broadcast. I speak with great affection of my Yorkshire roots and Bradford in the rest of the programme, which makes an attack on my old home seem unlikely.”

And responding to his pub ban, Mr Pickles said: “I think I called in for a pint of mild at the Great Northern around the summer of 1970 and have not been back since.

“As for the landlord, if he lacks faith in a fellow Yorkshireman's commitment to his county I can only conclude he must have a bit of Lancashire blood running through his veins!”

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