Watch: Wetherspoon boss Tim Martin brings Brexit message to Ipswich's Cricketers pub
PUBLISHED: 14:44 18 January 2019 | UPDATED: 15:01 18 January 2019
Wetherspoon boss and keen Brexiteer Tim Martin has taken his "no deal" message on Europe to The Cricketers pub in Ipswich as part of a national tour.
During a lively session at the packed pub on Friday morning, Mr Martin – the founder and chairman of the pub chain – explained why he felt Britain should leave the EU without a deal and should refuse to pay the £39billion “divorce bill” that was agreed in negotiations last year.
The pub boss also allowed questions from the large audience that seemed largely sympathetic to his view – but did include a sprinkling of critics who made their voices heard.
Mr Martin said people should not be afraid of a “no deal” Brexit.
“We will be able to trade with the rest of the world without having to pay EU tariffs,” he said. “It will make things cheaper for us.”
JD Wetherspoon had already replaced some European wines and spirits with replacements from Britain or other parts of the world like Australia and New Zealand – and customers had seemed happy with them.
During a question and answer session, many in the audience agreed with him and supported his view that Britain should get on and leave the EU.
The session, on a weekday working morning, was dominated by more mature voters – most of whom appeared to support his point of view.
However a younger voter challenged his view that it would be fine to refuse to pay the £39bn bill. Mr Martin said the House of Lords had said there was no requirement to pay that money.
However his challenger said that would leave the UK looking untrustworthy in international negotiations if it later went back on its agreement to pay the bill.
Mr Martin was also questioned by Ronan Connolly, who lives near Sudbury and raised the decision of Philips Avent to close its Glemsford plant a year after warning that a “hard Brexit” could lead to it re-assessing its future in Suffolk.
The company has denied that the threat of a “no deal” is behind the closure decision – but Mr Connolly pressed Mr Martin on the dangers to manufacturing from a sudden withdrawal.
Mr Martin replied that despite fears raised during the referendum campaign, the number of people employed in the City of London had increased. He did not know details about the Philips Avent decision.