Just before Christmas I had the pleasure of entertaining 2 constituents at Westminster. They were taking part in a lobby organised by CAMRA and suggested that we might talk over a pint of ale in the Strangers’ Bar. My visitors were pleasantly surprised to find that beer subsidies at the House of Commons are a thing of the past and that I paid the normal price for their drinks. I thought of them yesterday when Vince Cable announced that he will be introducing a statutory Code and an independent Adjudicator governing the relationship between pub companies and their licensees. This will tackle the problems of unfair practices, lack of transparency and a focus on short-termism at the expense of the long-term sustainability of tied pubs. This is great relevance in North East Hertfordshire where village pubs are the focus of the community. A consultation on the scope of the Code will begin shortly and I will be encouraging local CAMRA members and others to make their points to the Minister.