Pub landlord who ranted at Labour's Keir Starmer is lone author at self-publishing company

UK opposition leader was told he'd failed to question whether lockdown was working

The pub landlord who berated UK opposition leader Sir Keir Starmer’s record on tackling Covid-19 is a self-published crime author without a fan base.

Rod Humphris, who is landlord of The Raven pub in the western English city of Bath, launched a tirade against Mr Starmer while the Labour leader was on a campaign trip.

Mr Humphris, who bought the pub in 2004, is publisher of the less-than-famous 'Simon Ellice' series and is his publishing company’s only author.

He hit the headlines on Monday, telling Mr Starmer, "You have failed me” and, "thousands of people have died because you have failed to do your job”.

On the website for Rat’s Tales Publishing, Mr Humphris explains his love for books.

I always read. Since I can remember. First Asterix, then Willard Price, then Conan Doyle, then everything else. I’ve had a paperback jammed into my back pocket most days of my life. I remember wanting to write a book when I was about 12 and wanting to put everything into it,” he wrote.

Mr Humphris also said he has two large dogs and a love of travel.

Politicians across the world are often wrong-footed when they take their message directly to the public.

But scenes of a landlord shouting at Mr Starmer and being restrained by the opposition leader's security were dramatic.

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer (left) listens to Rod Humphris (right), landlord of The Raven pub in Bath. PA/Reuters
Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer (left) listens to Rod Humphris (right), landlord of The Raven pub in Bath. PA/Reuters

"You have failed me. I have been a Labour voter my entire life," Mr Humphris told Mr Starmer.

"You have failed to be the opposition, you have failed to ask whether lockdown was functioning.

"Do you understand thousands of people have died because you have failed to do your job and ask the real questions?"

Mr Starmer listened to the landlord and told him he disagreed.

Shortly afterwards, he said Mr Humphris "profoundly didn't believe that we should have had a lockdown, he didn't believe there should be restrictions and he queried to some extent, I think, whether there was a pandemic at all".

"Now obviously he is entitled to that view. I'm afraid I profoundly disagree and I think most people across the country would profoundly disagree."

Updated: April 20, 2021 12:42 PM

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