Amended article: Refused by a church, UKIP decide to hold meeting with Neil Hamilton in the pub
UKIP got a shock recently when their booking for a public meeting at the Wesley Hall in Parliament Street, Stroud was cancelled by the Methodist Church and the party was forced to seek solace in the local pub.
Stuart Love, UKIP's candidate in the Valley Ward by-election to Stroud District Council, which takes place on Thursday, August 7 said: "There are very few venues in Valley Ward big enough to accommodate a public meeting, and as our lead speaker is UKIP's deputy chairman, the well known former MP and television personality Neil Hamilton, we are expecting good numbers to attend.
"We booked the Wesley Hall in all good faith with the Methodists' booking clerk, and although she was very careful to inform us that alcohol must not be consumed on Methodist premises, no mention was made of the fact that bookings by political parties are not accepted by them.
"You can imagine our surprise and concern when the booking was then unilaterally cancelled by the Methodists as soon as this situation came to light, but unfortunately after we had already printed and distributed hundreds of leaflets.
"Luckily we have been able to salvage the situation just a few doors down at the Cross Hands pub, where the landlord Martin and his wife have been more than accommodating, and at least those attending the meeting will now be able to partake of an alcoholic beverage.
"Maybe the Methodists thought that given UKIP leader Nigel Farage's well known penchant for a pint all other UKIP members wanted to follow suit and be in the saloon bar as often as possible as well.
"Anyhow, the situation is saved and there are no hard feelings whatsoever between the Methodists and UKIP.
"In fact our Prospective Parliamentary Candidate for Stroud Caroline Stephens is a prominent Methodist, and UKIP numbers many Methodists among its members.
"Not only that, but the last UKIP Annual Conference in September of last year was actually held in Methodist Central Hall in Westminster. We would like to wish the Methodists well and thank Martin and his team at the Cross Hands for saving the day and coming to our rescue."
UKIP's public meeting with Neil Hamilton as principal speaker will now take place at the Cross Hands Public House, Summer Street on Tuesday, July 22 at 6.30pm for 7pm. All are welcome to attend.
Rev Simon Topping, from Stroud Methodist Church, said: “We had to refuse the booking when we realised the nature of the gathering. It’s policy not to allow an individual political party to meet.
“We recognise the inconvenience and have offered to reimburse and cover costs of leaflets they distributed."