Smoke ban rebel licensee Nick Hogan is a “political prisoner”, according to his party UKIP.
Hogan, who refused to abide by the smoking ban, was jailed for six months on Friday after refusing to pay a fine of £3,000 and costs of £7,236 dating back two years.
Hogan, who used to run the Swan with Two Necks and Barristers in Bolton, was more recently the spokesman for the night time economy for the UK Independence Party.
He stood down one month ago as UKIP’s candidate for Chorley due to the charges he faced.
But a party spokesman said: “He continue to be spokesman on the night-time economy and we wholeheartedly support him. There’s no way we are ashamed or embarrassed at all.
“He is in jail for political reasons. In our minds he’s a political prisoner.
“What has he done? He has allowed people to smoke in his pub. People get less for throwing acid on a woman’s face.”
Hogan maintained he advised customers it was illegal to smoke but it was not his place to enforce the law. Instead he gave them the freedom to choose whether to abide by the new law.
Simon Clarke over at Taking Liberties is running with this, as is Old Holborne who is raising funds to help pay Nick's fine.
So if you want to help, click here.