Let’s drink to no-deal Brexit, Wetherspoon boss urges Shrewsbury punters
The founder and chairman of pub company J D Wetherspoon, Tim Martin, told a Shropshire audience the whole country would be better off with a no-deal Brexit.
Mr Martin addressed a large crowd of people at The Shrewsbury Hotel yesterday as part of a massive pub tour to promote Britain leaving the EU with a no-deal.
WATCH: Tim Martin speaks to crowd
As part of his tour of more than 100 pubs across the country, he told customers about the “huge economic advantages” a no-deal would supposedly bring, and criticised the deal that was currently on the table.
Mr Martin is a hard-line Brexiteer and has long championed the benefits of free trade. He has played down worries about increased tariffs, rising food and drink prices and a falling pound, instead promoting possible deals outside of Europe.
Mr Martin, who was mainly cheered during a 30-minute Q&A session with customers, said: "I think there is quite a feeling in the country Parliament is acting against the will of the people and promise made to the people.
"I wanted to go around the country and have a chat as I feel there is so much doom and gloom. You have heard it is going to be a disaster and catastrophe. I don't think it will be that at all.
"I think we are better off leaving with a no-deal. The deal on the table is no good. We will be able to regain control of fishing grounds, eliminate import duties on non-EU goods, and we can save £39 billion which can be invested in the UK.
"All those things are good for business. When it comes down to individual companies, like the public, I think there is a split, but I am confident that overall they will do very well if we adopt free trade.
“The UK will immediately gain by non-payment of the proposed £39 billion, for which lawyers have repeatedly confirmed there is no legal liability.
“No-deal also allows Parliament, on March 29, to slash import taxes (tariffs) on over 12,000 non-EU products, including oranges, rice, coffee, wine and children’s clothes. Ending these tariffs will immediately reduce shop prices to UK consumers.
“There is no loss of income to the government from slashing these tariffs, since the proceeds are currently remitted to Brussels.
“Most importantly, no-deal allows the UK to regain control of historic fishing grounds, where 60 per cent of fish today are landed by EU boats.
"Also, the UK will be more democratic. Democracy and free trade provide economic steroids for the future.
“In reality, Theresa May’s deal is a mechanism for remaining trapped in an undemocratic and financially inefficient system.”
Mr Martin also played down the potential impact of a no-deal Brexit on his own company.
"We've got a bit of an EU supply chain but I don't think there will be too many problems.
"We have switched a few products to non-EU companies which is easy to do. Everything you buy from the EU you can buy from the rest of the world so that is a partial comfort for a lot of companies," he said.
Mr Martin also talked about his plans for The Shrewsbury Hotel as well as The Moon Under Water in Wolverhampton, where the company is looking to open a national museum as part of a £7 million investment.
He said: "We have bought a bit of land next to The Shrewsbury Hotel so we are considering developing that. There are two or three different schemes and more rooms is one I am inclined to support because they have got a very successful hotel here. We are also looking at enlarging the garden."
And on plans for the Wolverhampton pub, he added: "I thought it would be good for Wetherspoons to have an archive as there are so many documents around. It is a devil's jobs to organise them.
"It would include what documents I can find about the first pub, subsequent pubs and the people who work there as well as the history about Wetherspoons.
"We thought it is very central in the country, very close to the station and it is a growing city."