Wetherspoon chairman hits out at ‘elite remainers’

Pro-Brexit JD Wetherspoon chairman Tim Martin has slammed “elite remainers” after announcing his pub chain’s annual profits tumbled by 4.5%.

The chain’s profit before tax in the year to 28 July 2019 fell to £102.5 million (US$127m) due to higher costs related to real estate, however, revenue increased by 7.4% to £1.8 billion (US$2.2bn).

Martin, the main shareholder in JD Wetherspoon and a staunch advocate of Britain’s exit from the EU, used the announcement of the company’s fiscal results to blast “elite remainers” who are “ignoring the big picture” and concentrating on “assumed short-term problems”.

“Democratic power in the UK in the last 30 years has been diluted by a political faction in parliament, the media and boardrooms, which has a quasi-religious belief in the undemocratic EU – with its unelected presidents, MEPs who cannot instigate legislation and unaccountable court,” he said in a statement. “Voters resent this loss of power – and distrust of politicians and the ‘elite’ is the result.”

He blamed a number of prominent politicians for “frustrating the referendum result” and said they had showed “extremely poor” economic judgement. Martin went on to say that a no-deal Brexit would “increase UK democracy”.

“Remainer MPs’ main argument – having consistently voted against the only deal on offer – to justify their attempts to scupper Brexit, is that costs for consumers and businesses will axiomatically increase in the event of ‘no deal’,” argued Martin.

“However, leaving without a deal avoids a legal liability to pay £39 billion [US$48.4bn], allows the UK to eliminate protectionist import taxes (tariffs) on over 12,000 non-EU products (including rice, oranges, bananas, Antipodean wine, children’s clothes and car parts etc) and results in resumption of the control of fishing waters.

“Above all, no-deal increases UK democracy – the most powerful economic stimulant.”

Martin added the he expects a “reasonable outcome” for his firm’s 2019/20 fiscal year.

The chairman has instigated a number of controversial moves in recent months, including pulling German herbal liqueur Jägermeister and a range of Cognacs from shelves, replacing them with UK and non-EU-made spirits.

Earlier this month, hundreds of Wetherspoon pubs slashed the price of a pint to “illustrate” what the firm believes would be a financial gain for consumers if the UK left the customs union.

Some members of the public have reacted angrily to Martin’s latest remarks, and over the weekend #BoycottWetherspoons was trending on Twitter.

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