Controversial politician Nigel Farage did not get the answer he expected when a Norwich landlady discussed a multi-million-pound pub project on his TV show.

"Let's have some good news stories - we need it with the number of pubs that are closed," Farage told GB News viewers on Monday night.

The former Ukip leader was talking about beer giants Heineken announcing they will spend £39m refurbishing 612 of its UK sites and reopening 62 of their closed pubs.

The plans will transform "tired" pubs into "premium locals", according to Star Pub's managing director Lawson Mountstevens.

Norwich Evening News: Nigel Farage is now a broadcaster at GB NewsNigel Farage is now a broadcaster at GB News (Image: Gareth Fuller/PA Wire)

However, despite Farage's initial impression that this was "good news" for the hospitality industry, Victoria Macdonald was much more sceptical. 

Ms Macdonald, who sits on the national executive committee for the Campaign For Pubs, recently left The Cellar House in Eaton after 11 years and warned the politician-turned-news anchor to take the news with a "very large pinch of salt".

"There are hundreds of pubs closing, and anything that supports bringing the pub back into communities has to be applauded," said Ms Macdonald, who still runs the Old Ram Coaching Inn in Tivetshall St Mary and is a former Lib Dem city councillor.

Norwich Evening News: Victoria MacDoibnald is landlady of several Norfolk pubsVictoria MacDoibnald is landlady of several Norfolk pubs (Image: Newsquest)

"But, we have to remember that Heineken is a very large pub company.

"We're not really talking about the classic pub run by quality landlords who offer exactly what the local community needs.

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"The margins are very tight, alongside the increases in energy costs.

"Heineken put their prices up this year.

Norwich Evening News: Heineken is looking to reopen 62 of its closed pubsHeineken is looking to reopen 62 of its closed pubs (Image: David Parry/PA Wire)

"While we all love our staff and would love to pay them appropriately, the forced increase in minimum wage has had implications. 

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"We need other support. Heineken is one of the big boys! They are fine. They will not be worrying about those tenants running the 60-odd pubs that they are planning to open."

Farage seemed taken aback and kept the interview brief, saying: "Well, you've spoilt my bank holiday. I was trying to have a happy story but it wasn't as good as it looked on the face of it!"

Star Pubs currently owns the Wildflower in King's Lynn, which it intends to rename the Queen Elizabeth in a refurbishment, and the Manor House in Wortham.