Bungling Rishi Sunak humiliated by heckler's withering put-down as he pours pint

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Bungling Rishi Sunak humiliated by heckler
Bungling Rishi Sunak humiliated by heckler's withering put-down as he pours pint

Rishi Sunak faced heckles today as he toured a London beer festival to boast about a shake-up in alcohol duty.

The PM hailed the new post-Brexit regime that will hike tax on a range of drinks as the "most radical simplification of alcohol duties for 140 years".

But not all were impressed as Mr Sunak poured a pint of Black Dub stout at the stall of the Wensleydale brewery, which operates from his constituency.

"Prime Minister, oh the irony that you're raising alcohol duty on the day that you're pulling a pint," 46-year-old publican Rudi Keyser yelled.

Another onlooker shouted at the teetotal Tory leader, who is famously a fan of the Coke: "Prime Minister, it's not Coca Cola."

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Bungling Rishi Sunak humiliated by heckler's withering put-down as he pours pintThe PM was pouring a pint of Black Dub stout at the stall of the Wensleydale brewery (POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

Mr Sunak has insisted he is "backing British pubs" with the changes - despite drinks such as wine, gin, vodka and canned beer all going up in price.

Mr Keyser, who runs a pub chain in Wimbledon, later told reporters the new duty amounted to "robbing Peter to pay Paul" and insisted consumers will see an increase in prices as a result. "And he has the audacity to come and pull a pint for PR," he added.

The Treasury said the changes will mean duty charged on draught pints in pubs will be cut by 11p - which Mr Sunak hailed as beneficial to "thousands of businesses across the country". But as part of the shake-up - taxing alcohol based on strength rather than categories - the price of many other drinks will increase.

Drinks with alcohol by volume (ABV) below 3.5% will be taxed at a lower rate, but tax on drinks with ABV over 8.5% will stay the same. The regime was first set out by Mr Sunak in 2021 with the aim of encouraging drinkers to cut back.

But Scotch Whisky Association director of strategy Graeme Littlejohn said: "The 10.1% duty increase is a hammer blow for distillers and consumers. "At a time when inflation has only just started to creep downwards, this tax increase will continue to fuel inflation and make it more difficult for the Scotch whisky industry to invest in growth and job creation in Scotland and across the UK supply chain."

During the visit on Tuesday Mr Sunak also appeared to mistakenly demote himself, telling GB News: "Well I'm a teetotal chancellor but we're delivering and backing our great British pubs with our Brexit pubs guarantee."

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Ashley Cowburn

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