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Pressure is mounting on councillors to strip the boss of Cheers bar of his licence after the pub flouted the coronavirus shutdown.

Ian Ellis kept his premises open at the weekend in defiance of UK and Scottish government directives to close as the killer COVID-19 pandemic sweeps the country.

His decision has been branded 'appalling' and 'belligerent' by Inverclyde Council.

READ MORE: Police Scotland gain coronavirus powers to enforce UK lockdown

There were shameful scenes at the pub on Saturday as a booze-fuelled street brawl took place outside and video footage of it made headlines around the world.

Now the district's MSP Stuart McMillan has written to the licensing board with a thinly veiled call for Ellis, 44, to be made an example of.

In the letter, Mr McMillan states: "I write to ask you to consider whether the landlord is a fit and proper person to hold a trading licence when the licence is next up for consideration."

News outlets on the other side of the Atlantic, including the Toronto Sun News and Today News US, carried YouTube reports of the shocking scenes at the West Stewart Street bar.

Video footage of the incidents also 'went viral' in Australia.

MSP Mr McMillan says in his letter to the board: "As you will be aware, Cheers Bar was open on Saturday 21 March despite guidance from the Scottish and UK Governments for all pubs, restaurants and cafes to shut on Friday 20 March.

"The landlord's decision to remain open sadly attracted negative national media coverage, adding insult to Greenock shortly after the recent publication of deprivation statistics.

"Saturday's actions showed little regard for our community or people's personal health during this COVID-19 crisis."

Prior to the trouble erupting at Cheers, Ellis and his punters posed for photographs and he spoke of his intention to 'stay open until it becomes unsafe to do so or we're forced to close'.

READ MORE: Coronavirus: Glasgow bus drivers told to work even with underlying health conditions

Police stepped in on Sunday and closed the pub down ahead of new laws being brought in and Mr Ellis has been widely condemned for his conduct.

An Inverclyde Council spokesman said: "It is appalling that someone would ignore the national guidance and put lives at risk.

"Since this situation came to our attention we have been in close contact with our colleagues in Police Scotland.

"We fully support the police action of compulsory closure under the Licensing Scotland Act."

The spokesman added: "While emergency legislation may also come in to force closure of premises, we hope that the owner of this bar sees sense and does the right thing by fully complying with the guidance.

"This belligerent behaviour not only puts lives at risk, it also diverts police, government and council resources away from supporting vulnerable residents or delivering essential services to protect our community."

Licensing board member, Councillor David Wilson, said: "I am quite sure that if the police bring a report to the board, they will take appropriate action.

"We do need to know the actions of the police on Saturday and their observations.

"I am currently in Australia and the video went viral here - not a good look for Greenock."

Fellow board member Elizabeth Robertson said she 'echoed' the points made by the council.

Councillor Robertson added: "Everyone needs to play their part — acting as a community, thinking about the community, for this to pass.

"We really do need to be mindful of how we use all of our resources.

"Our police officers, A&E staff, and the chain goes on, shouldn't be tied up in the aftermath of bar fights at this time."

Her colleague on the licensing board, Councillor John Crowther, said: "Any action which may arise from this incident, which brings further shame to Inverclyde, will require to be dealt with by the licensing board."

The board decided a year ago to allow Ellis to keep his licence despite reports from police of alleged violent incidents and disturbances at Cheers, and senior officers declaring him 'uncooperative, unprofessional and obstructive'.