'Homophobic' Greencoat Boy pub claim investigated

Image caption,
A rainbow flag now adorns the central London pub

Police have confirmed they are investigating a pub that allegedly refused to serve a gay group in a row over their sexuality.

The Labour Party's Lesbian Gay Bisexual and Transgendered Rights group was in the Greencoat Boy pub in Westminster, central London, when the row occurred.

Owner Punch Taverns has suspended a staff member pending its investigation.

A Metropolitan Police spokesman said: "An allegation that a homophobic incident took place was reported."

The pub chain apologised and hung a rainbow flag - often used to symbolise the Gay Pride movement - in the pub window.

The Met spokesman said they would be able to say more about the investigation later.

'Shocked and saddened'

James Asser, a member of the group, said: "Everyone involved was shocked and outraged. This attitude is totally unacceptable in this day and age.

"What century are we living in here?

"When you encounter prejudice you have to stand up and be counted - at the very least we expect an apology.

"We also want a demonstration that the pub chain takes this very seriously and will make sure it never happens again."

Image caption,
The Labour Party group were "outraged" by the incident

A Punch Taverns spokesman accepted that the customers were denied service and said the pub firm was investigating "on what grounds this took place".

He added: "Punch Taverns seeks to provide welcoming venues to everyone.

"We are shocked and saddened that a group of our guests did not experience this and would like to apologise.

"We would however like to stress that this is an isolated incident and is not representative of our commitment to diversity."

The incident became the most viewed trend on social networking site Twitter.

Former Labour deputy prime minister John Prescott tweeted in support of the group, writing: "Forty years ago we campaigned against a Hull pub that banned 'women and queers'.

"This is disgraceful."

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