The father of a Hollywood actress has criticised a county councillor for “demonising” a local business in his ward.

Clinton Pugh, the owner of restaurants Café Coco and Kazbar and the father of the Oppenheimer movie star Florence Pugh, has hit back at Oxfordshire County Councillor Damian Haywood, who described Mr Pugh’s bars as “poorly managed post Covid”.

Mr Haywood’s attack on Mr Pugh’s business was in response to a Sky News article which ran the headline 'Florence Pugh’s father blasts low traffic neighbourhood scheme as he loses his bar'.

READ MORE: Public health and equalities chief resigned over 'Abrahamic religion' tweet
Oxford Mail: Clinton PughClinton Pugh (Image: Photo: Oxford Mail)

Writing on Twitter, Mr Haywood said: “This is nonsense, this bar and LTN is within my division, it was poorly managed post Covid.

“Evidence suggests that LTNs increase footfall as Mr Pugh would know having asked for a road closure to service his other bars, 100m down the road”.

READ MORE: Labour Party councillor suspended for 'breaking the rules'

Mr Pugh described the councillor's remarks as “insulting” and asked him to come clean about what experience in business he has had.

He said: “What experience has he got to suggest I was not running my business correctly?

“It is insulting.

“How dare he.”

Mr Pugh who has run restaurants and bars in Oxford for 39 years said he frequently faced criticisms from councillors when he stood up for the concerns of Cowley Road traders.

He said: “Mr Haywood should be supporting a local business as opposed to demonising it.”

However, Mr Haywood told the Oxford Mail he would like to "apologise to Mr Pugh for any upset this may have caused".

He said: "Both councils want to see the Cowley Road thriving and Mr Pugh is part of this aim.

"I wish him well in him finding a buyer for Coco's, which is where I first met my wife."

Oxford Mail: Mr Pugh is the father of movie star Florence PughMr Pugh is the father of movie star Florence Pugh

READ MORE: Florence Pugh's father loses bar and blames LTNs for 'stress'

Oxford Mail: County councillor Damian HaywoodCounty councillor Damian Haywood (Image: Oxfordshire County Council)

The councillor, who represents the ward Iffley Fields and St Mary's, was previously forced to resign as the county council's cabinet member for public health and equalities after a complaint was made against him for an offensive tweet dismissing concerns from Muslims and Catholics over low traffic neighbourhoods in Cowley.

It followed worries about increased traffic outside a Catholic school and concerns about how worshippers travelling to Friday prayers at mosques in East Oxford would be impacted by the LTN.

READ MORE: Oxford LTNs criticised by Florence Pugh dad and bar owner

Oxford Mail: Picture of the Tweet which led to his resignationPicture of the Tweet which led to his resignation

Mr Haywood is a supporter of the scheme.

The councillor wrote: "I do not think your Abrahamic religion of several millennia have anything to do with transport invented 100 years ago."

He said at the time: "I apologised for any offence it caused and I deleted it 10 minutes after sending it.

"It was coarse and obviously I need to think again about how I use social media."

In March, the Oxford Mail also revealed that Mr Haywood had been suspended by the Labour Party for supporting the Liberal Democrat candidate in the North Shropshire by election in 2021, which was triggered by Owen Paterson's resignation on November 5, 2021.

Mr Haywood was given a six-month suspension from the Labour Party and he told the Oxford Mail at the time: “I broke party rules by advocating support for another party in a parliamentary by-election.

“I was wrong to do so, apologised immediately to party members and I accept the sanction put upon me by the party’s executive committee.”

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Ed specialises in writing political stories for the Oxford Mail and The Oxford Times. 

He joined in the team in February 2023, after completing a History undergraduate degree at the University of York and studying for his NCTJ diploma in London.

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