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Drinkers have to grin and beer it?

PUBLISHED: 13:50 10 December 2008 | UPDATED: 15:48 25 August 2010

THE lopsided grin, the jaunty lean on the bar, the half-drained pint glass - a sure sign that John Austin means business at his local boozer.

THE lopsided grin, the jaunty lean on the bar, the half-drained pint glass - a sure sign that John Austin means business at his local boozer.

Here we see the Erith and Thamesmead MP enjoying a pint with former Brookside star Jennifer Ellison, raising a glass to a campaign to save the British pub.

Axe The Beer Tax - Save The Pub aims to fight the government's decision to impose further duty rises on beer and pubs in its pre-budget report.

Ordering a pint of his favourite bitter, the MP said: "The pub is at the heart of many communities and I am very concerned that pub closures have accelerated to a rate of five a day.

"Personally, I would favour a differential level of tax between pubs and supermarkets," he purred, wiping a little foam from his beard.

Pubgoers already pay a third of every pint to the taxman, and now that tax is due to rise by 40 per cent in the next three years.

Apparently, if closures continue at the present rate, at least 7,500 more pubs would be lost by 2012.

So come on, readers. John Austin is going to be retiring at the next general election and he probably needs somewhere to while away the hours.

Show some heart and visit www.axethebeertax.com/ to help keep his local open.

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