It was a straightforward request for refreshments during a day out. But two mothers were left bemused and angry after staff at a central London pub refused to serve them alcoholic drinks because their children were present.
In what appears to be a case of the nanny state gone mad, friends Ali Ineson and Emma Rutherford say the barman told them it would be inappropriate to let them drink in front of their four children.
The group had gone into the Britannia pub in the City hoping for a spot of lunch after climbing the nearby Monument. They had ordered a white wine and spritzer, a vodka and Coke and soft drinks for the youngsters, aged between eight and 12.
Miss Rutherford from Wimbledon, said: I thought it was a joke at first. It seemed like it was the kind of gag a barman might make to break the ice. We were trying to order a white wine spritzer and a single vodka and Coke - it wasn't like I'd
asked for a bucketful of whisky with six straws. l)
Mrs Ineson added: I was totally shocked and asked the barman to reiterate. He said he wasn't going to serve us because it would not be "appropriate". The children's drinks were served with no problem, so it was not as if the
management did not want children in the pub.
The pub is owned by Stonegate, one of the UK's biggest pub chains including Yates's and Slug and Lettuce, which has said it will investigate the incident.
A new immigration rule requiring people to be able to speak English to move to the UK to be with their spouse is a breach of human rights, a court has heard.
A couple have requested a judicial review to challenge the rule, which they claim contravenes their rights to a family life and is discriminatory.
Rashida Chapti, a British citizen, and her husband, Vali, who is an Indian national and does not speak, read or write English, have applied for him to be allowed to join her in the UK.
The couple have been married for 37 years and have six children. Mrs Chapti has reportedly been travelling between India and England for 15 years and has now asked for her husband to join her.
Under immigration rules which came into force last November, he cannot do so due to an English language requirement, thought to be part of the Government's pledge to reduce net migration. The Chaptis and two other couples have begun proceedings
to contest the rule.
At the High Court in Birmingham, Manjit Gill QC, representing the Chaptis, told the court that the requirement to speak English contravenes several articles of the European Convention on Human Rights. He said individuals have certain core
rights , such as the right to marry, to find a family, to cohabit and to live in a family unit, a family being an essential building block of society.
Someone who is settled here, someone who is a British citizen, is ordinarily entitled to have their spouse living with them, providing it is a genuine marriage, providing there is no recourse to public funds, he said. He said the rule
prevented people who are British citizens from living with their spouses.
Can confidence in the Metropolitan police sink any lower? Even before the past few weeks revealed the possibility of their complicity in the News of the World hacking scandal, and the past few months their brutal attitude
towards the policing of students and other protesters, there were many who already had reason to mistrust those who claim to be working together for a safer London .
A bird lover who is battling to save rare parrots says the police tried to ban photographs he took of Government officials destroying their nests.
Simon Richardson, who is campaigning against a cull of monk parakeets, said he was shocked when police claimed he could be sued for thousands of pounds for invading the government worker's privacy.
Richardson stood in his street and took pictures of Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) staff as they removed nests from a tree in his neighbour's garden.
Several hours later, two uniformed policemen visited his home and allegedly claimed he could face prosecution under privacy laws. Richardson also claims he was told that if he published the pictures in a newspaper, the police would take action.
He believes the policeman who admonished him was wrongly referring to Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights, which says everyone has the right to respect for his private and family life, his home and his correspondence .
His version of events has been backed by another campaigner who overheard his conversation with the police. Kate Fowler, from the animal rights group Animal Aid, described the police as heavy handed and smacking of Big Brother .
Defra unconvincingly claims the birds pose a danger to crops and pylons because they build large communal nests, as well as to other species.
In response, Richardson began a Stop The Monk Parakeet Cull to save the population of 33 parakeets in Borehamwood and has collected more than 2,300 signatures on a petition.
A Hertfordshire police spokesman claimed: The officers were called to prevent a breach of the peace and while they gave advice to the householder about taking photos, there was no threat to be sued by the Constabulary. We're sorry for any