PM Brexit deal is ‘ter­ri­ble’, claims pub boss

Tim Martin says it gives up con­trol at a great cost

Yorkshire Post - Business - - FRONT PAGE - Is­mail Mulla BUSI­NESS REPORTER @Is­mailMulla

The founder and chair­man of pub chain Wether­spoon has called Theresa May’s Brexit deal “ter­ri­ble” and said that the Gov­ern­ment should have pub­lished full le­gal ad­vice on the deal.

Tim Martin, who is in favour of leav­ing the Euro­pean Union with­out a deal, said that given the Gov­ern­ment’s cam­paign is based on its le­gal ad­vice, there was no “sus­tain­able ar­gu­ment” to keep it from the pub­lic.

Mr Martin was vis­it­ing Beck­ett’s Bank in Leeds as part of his whistlestop tour to sell the idea of ‘Hard Brexit’ to Wether­spoon cus­tomers.

He be­lieves that the EU doesn’t have a fu­ture un­less it “be­comes more demo­cratic” and Mr Martin says he would sup­port the UK be­ing part of a free trad­ing com­mon mar­ket.

“I don’t think it’s got a fu­ture un­less it re­turns to the sta­tus of a com­mon mar­ket, which we would all sup­port,” he said.

Mark Car­ney, the Gover­nor of the Bank of Eng­land, re­cently warned that food prices would go up be­tween 5 and 10 per cent in the event of a dis­or­derly Brexit.

The Bank of Eng­land says the price rises would come partly as a re­sult of a fall in the value of the pound, partly from tar­iffs and partly from in­creased costs of im­port checks at the bor­der.

Mr Martin dis­missed the claims of de­lays at the bor­der as a “scare story”.

He said: “There are no hold ups at the bor­der for non-EU coun­tries so I can’t see why the EU join­ing the same sta­tus as Amer­ica, China and In­dia, where there are no queues,

should re­sult in queues.” How­ever, he did con­cede that it was pos­si­ble that there might be “some tem­po­rary hold-ups” if there is ill will be­tween the EU and the UK fol­low­ing Brexit.

The value of the pound has taken a pum­melling since the vote to leave the Euro­pean Union in June 2016 and ex­perts have warned that it could take a fur­ther hit in the event of a hard Brexit.

Mr Martin though says that the pound could go up or down re­gard­less and was an “au­to­matic sta­biliser”.

He added: “If it goes down, yes some im­port prices can go up but it also means that man­u­fac­tur­ing ex­porters do bet­ter and also tourism does bet­ter.”

Some politi­cians are push­ing for a Peo­ple’s Vote on the im­ple­men­ta­tion of Brexit, with a bal­lot con­tain­ing all three op­tions – Re­main, Hard Brexit and the PM’s deal.

But Mr Martin is against the idea as he be­lieves the Gov­ern­ment has to im­ple­ment the de­ci­sion to leave the EU first. “Theresa May hasn’t pri­ori­tised leav­ing,” he said. “She has pri­ori­tised and put all her en­ergy into the deal.”

Mr Martin added: “We had a bal­lot in 1975 and that de­ci­sion was put into ef­fect. We had one in 2014 in Scot­land. That de­ci­sion was ad­hered to. We had one in the UK in 2016 and you have to im­ple­ment what it said on the bal­lot pa­per.”

The ar­dent Brex­i­teer has also called for Bri­tain to re­ject the £39bn di­vorce bill – a mix­ture of a con­tri­bu­tion to the EU bud­get un­til 2020 and li­a­bil­i­ties. He said that the UK was un­der no le­gal obli­ga­tion to pay the £39bn set­tle­ment.

When pressed on whether there was a moral obli­ga­tion, Mr Martin said: “I don’t think you’ve got a moral obli­ga­tion if you’re be­ing bul­lied. If they want to of­fer a free trade deal, which mostly ben­e­fits the EU rather than the UK, fine. I don’t see the need to pay ran­som money. I think it’s come about as a re­sult of a weak Prime Min­is­ter.”

Mr Martin in­tends to visit 100 Wether­spoon pubs across the UK over the next two months on his Brexit tour.

PIC­TURE: JONATHAN GAWTHORPE

NO DEAL:Tim Martin, founder of Wether­spoon, says Bri­tain should exit with­out a deal.

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