Tuesday, 20 Oct 2020

‘We’d be better off with NO deal!’ Wetherspoons boss Tim Martin backs Boris’ EU defiance

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Wetherspoons boss Tim Martin has explained why Boris Johnson is right to prepare Britain to walk away from the EU without a trade deal. The Brexiteer businessman reiterated that Britain would “be better off with no deal” following a growing feud between the UK and EU over Brexit talks. Earlier today, Boris Johnson said it was now up to EU to compromise, but he added that the UK wouldn’t give up on trade talks completely.

Mr Martin was asked on Sky New whether the UK should “bother” trying to get a last-ditch deal with the EU.

He responded: “It’s always worth bothering. It entirely depends, I always thought, on the EU.

“Personally I think we’d be better off with no deal, as I’ve said many times before, in reducing tariffs and going for a free trade approach.

“If the EU want to get a deal, that’s fine – if they don’t want a deal, there is nothing you can do!”

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Mr Johnson responded to the EU’s refusal to compromise following a crunch summit in Brussels.

He said: “As far as I can see they’ve abandoned the idea of a free trade deal. There doesn’t seem to be any progress coming from Brussels.

“So what we’re saying to them is: ‘Only come here, come to us, if there’s some fundamental change of approach’.”

“Of course we’re always willing to listen. But it didn’t seem particularly encouraging from the summit in Brussels yesterday and today.

“And so with high hearts and with complete confidence, we will prepare to embrace the alternative and we will prosper mightily as an independent free-trading nation controlling our own borders, our fisheries and setting our own laws.”

Despite this, EU Commission president Ursula von der Leyen confirmed Brexit negotiations would still continue in London next week.

This appears to suggests the EU is not interpreting Boris Johnson’s statement as evidence that the UK has completely abandoned hopes of a deal.

The BBC’s political editor Laura Kuenssberg said a no-deal outcome seemed to be moving closer.

She said that Thursday’s summit of EU leaders failed to “move the dial” in the deadlocked talks.

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Also in his interview, Mr Martin criticised Mr Johnson for “magnificently confusing the entire country” with his tier lockdown strategy.

He urged Boris to take a “wise-up pill” before warning that the UK faces three or four million people unemployed in just a few months times.

The outspoken pub chain founder argued that the UK should adopt the Swedish approach to allow his pubs to open again properly.

This comes after JD Wetherspoon slumped to a £95m annual loss as sales plunged during the coronavirus lockdown.

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