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A pint and a no-deal Brexit please! Wetherspoon boss Tim Martin hosts Wolverhampton debate

By Liam Keen | Politics | Published:

As the Brexit deal discussion descended into chaos, a storm was brewing in the Black Country on the hottest topic in politics.

Tim Martin in Wolverhampton.

Chairman of JD Wetherspoon, Tim Martin, arrived in Wolverhampton preaching about the benefits of a no-deal Brexit.

Just months after emergency surgery to remove his appendix, the 63-year-old landed in The Moon Under Water pub on Lichfield Street in the latest stop of his UK tour, which will see him visit more than 100 of his pubs.

More than 62 per cent of voters in Wolverhampton decided to leave the EU in 2016 and the Brexiteer majority was evident as the crowd cheered for Mr Martin's no-deal Brexit ideas.

The 30-minute Q&A was interrupted by an elderly man, who wished to stay anonymous, who screamed at the Weatherspoons boss.

Tim Martin speaking with punters in Wetherspoons

The heated debate took a turn when punters began to boo the man who shouted "I worked for the EU for 25 years," which in turn was greeted with jeers and laughs from the crowd.

The man also said: "Look at the final four teams in the World Cup, all from Europe, the UK didn't win the Ryder Cup, Europe did - Europe is wonderful."

Mr Martin did interject during the booing to say: "This man is very brave, he's entitled to his say, it's a democracy after all."

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Following the Q&A with Wolverhampton pub-goers, Mr Martin spoke to the Express & Star about his vision of a no-deal Brexit.

He said: "A lot of the London-centric media has created the myth that no deal is terrible, a catastrophe, a cliff edge, my main purpose is to say that is not true.

Tim Martin in Wolverhampton.

"No deal equals more prosperity, leave the EU on the 29th March next year and we save £39 billion, regain control of fishing, eliminate tariffs on a lot of things we don't produce in the UK, which at the moment get sent to Brussels, such as bananas and children's clothes.

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"There are 12,000 of these products that keep shop prices high.

"We also get more democracy, so if we leave with no deal we can start to improve things immediately.

"You never know what will happen in politics and the what the public thinks is tremendously important.

"It's very realistic, in the end the public had a vote and in the long run they will win.

"I've only ever campaigned for two things, not to have the euro in the UK and to get out of the EU, democracy is essential to the future of the world and perhaps that is why people listen to me, I don't have an axe to grind.

"I'm trying to get around the whole country, I've been to Stretton and Newcastle that are pro-remain, so the country has been split and I'm not trying to avoid anyone.

Tim Martin says it should be no-deal

"I got a flash of truth the other day when I was listening to Michael Heseltine, who is a remainer, he was asked if he was disappointed with Theresa May's deal and he said 'she could never have got a better deal, she's a remainer, her heart's not in it' - I think Michael Heseltine summed it up very nicely.

"No deal will put us in the same category as Singapore and New Zealand, it's a big old world out there and people are keen to do deals with free traders.

"People in the Black Country will gain from the £39 billion we will save, essentially a cheque per household which is on average about £1,400, that money can be invested in the UK.

"They'll gain more democracy, and regain control of fishing that trickles down to the rest of the country and lower the prices in the shops.

"If we go for no deal and the government abolishes import tax on non-EU food, it will lower the price of food, at Wetherspoons that is about three and a half pence per meal, it doesn't sound a lot but it all adds up.

"It will encourage others to trade in the UK who are currently put off by the tariffs and quotas.

It was a lively debate

"Life doesn't come with many guarantees but common sense will tell you that when you have the Australian ambassador saying they want to trade with us, and the President of the United States saying the same, what more can you ask?

"Theresa May is a very strange person, she has had no consensus behind her deal, it's strange she has gotten so far with so little support, it's crazy.

"No-one predicted she would become Prime Minister, the reality is no-one knows what will happen, but we need a Brexiteer in charge of the government to do it properly, Boris Johnson is best."

Liam Keen

By Liam Keen
Reporter - @LiamKeen_Star

Trainee reporter at the Express & Star, primarily covering Wolverhampton. Got a story? Get in touch on 01902 319688.

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