Race allegations shock councillors

Bouncers at an Ipswich pub are today under investigation for allegedly barring Asian drinkers.

IPSWICH: Bouncers at an Ipswich pub are today under investigation for allegedly barring Asian drinkers.

Shocked councillors heard last night how two Asian men were turned away from a live music night at a pub in the town.

The incidents were witnessed by Ipswich Labour councillor Mary Blake who challenged the door staff when she saw what was happening.

“An Asian man tried to get in and was turned away. I asked the door staff why and I was told it was because he was drunk. I went outside and saw the man and he seemed surprised that anyone else should be interested. He said it happens quite often at pubs and seemed quite resigned to it.

“I had a perfectly good conversation with him and he was clearly not drunk. It sounds a bit stereotyped, but he seemed like one of the young professional Asians who work at Martlesham.”

Ms Blake was shocked and returned to the pub and told the door staff that they should be careful because they could be acting unlawfully - and that they could be operating against the terms of the licence.

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She then saw another young Asian try to get in and he was also barred.

“It turned out he was a friend of the first one - but clearly neither of them were drunk at all,” she said.

Council leader Liz Harsant said she was shocked to hear about the incident and would ensure that the borough's licensing department began an investigation immediately.

She said: “This establishment, and/or its doorstaff would be acting totally outside the conditions of their licence. I am really shocked to hear this is happening in Ipswich in 2009.”

Ms Blake was delighted to hear Mrs Harsant's pledge - and the incident also shocked former mayor Albert Grant who is a key member of the Ipswich and Suffolk Council for Race Equality (ISCRE).

He said: “I shall report this to ISCRE immediately - there needs to be a full inquiry into this.”

Speaking after the meeting Ms Blake said what had really shocked her was that the two Asian men seemed to expect this treatment.

“They said it happens quite regularly at different places. There are some very good pubs like the Steamboat but this seems really unbelieveable,” she said.