Kay Kolakovic, owner of The Copper Clam cafe on the Brighton seafront, was fuming when your Reaction correspondent popped in for a late-lunch on Wednesday shortly after Sir Keir Starmer’s big speech.

The press may have given Starmer’s conference performance the thumbs-up but Kolakovic was not so amused by his performance, or no-show. 

Kolakovic told me how disappointed she was in Starmer who was due to have dined at her seafood restaurant on the Monday night. Indeed, the leader and his entourage had reserved a table of 6 to 12 people but no-one showed up. Ignorant and discourteous is how she described their behaviour.

What’s more, no one from the leader’s team called to cancel the booking, which seems an extraordinary lapse of politeness, particularly when it was for so many people. Kolakovic was forced to turn away several guests and would-be parties because she had especially closed off the top floor for Starmer’s visit as she has done over the years for many of Labour’s top brass. (Both Jeremy Corbyn and Diane Abbott have dined there.)

If you remember, Monday was the day of Andy McDonald’s resignation and no doubt Sir Keir and his aides were running around trying to put out the fires. But it’s no excuse for not calling to cancel the reservation, at the very least. 

You would think after the horrid year that the hospitality industry has been through, Starmer or one of his circle, would have been gracious enough to call to cancel his visit. So much for Starmer’s fine words about Labour being the party of business. That’s another vote lost.  

The leader’s office has been approached for comment.