CUSTOMERS at an Otley pub have been enjoying pints that were pulled by their local MP.

Alex Sobel (Lab, Leeds North West) nipped in to The Junction Inn on Friday, February 1 to do a shift behind the bar.

The politician was visiting to celebrate the contribution Otley’s pubs make to the life of the town - and to celebrate his Parliamentary Pub of the Year nominee.

Mr Sobel put The Junction forward for the honour last summer after asking people for their thoughts on what was the best inn within his constituency.

The Otley pub emerged as a clear favourite with regulars praising its atmosphere, beer, and the tireless fundraising work of retiring landlord Tony Grey.

Mr Sobel, after finishing his bar shift, said: “It was a huge privilege to work alongside the staff at The Junction last Friday evening.

“It gave me renewed respect for the skill, concentration and energy it takes to work behind a busy bar.

“I want to thank the staff who guided me through the techniques, and also the customers for their patience and encouragement.

“By doing this shift, I wanted to highlight the contribution that The Junction and every pub in Otley makes to our community.

“It is a difficult time for pubs. As salaries stagnate and money becomes an issue, pubs suffer from reduced custom as well as increasing tax burdens.

“According to CAMRA, 18 pubs close every week. We must do all that we can to support them; pubs provide employment for over 900,000 people and contribute £23 billion to the economy.

“I have moved to represent pubs in Parliament and have signed Toby Perkins’ Early Day Motion that seeks to protect the British pub. “

Faye Briggs from The Junction said: “We were delighted to have been nominated for Parliamentary Pub of the Year and it was a pleasure to host Alex behind the bar. It’s great to have an MP that cares about local businesses and isn’t afraid to get stuck in.

“We are looking forward to a pint in the House of Commons - Alex assured us he’s buying!”

Mr Sobel added: “I had a great time chatting with the regulars and learning the trade. It made a welcome change from Westminster.”