Wetherspoon boss rebuked over Brexit comments

Wetherspoon boss Tim Martin, one of corporate Britain’s most outspoken supporters of the UK’s exit from the EU, earned a rebuke from the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) after telling the organisation’s head to “put a sock in it” over Brexit negotiations.

The business lobby group hit out over comments by the 62-year-old pub company founder, who said that “gloomsters” such as CBI director general Carolyn Fairbairn shouldn’t interfere with the UK government’s negotiations.

“Rather than slinging mud, Mr Martin should know that all the major UK business groups have made clear the risks to the economy of leaving the EU without a deal,” a CBI spokesperson said.

Mr Martin has made public his view that demands from institutions over the need for certainty on Brexit arrangements increase pressure on the UK government to agree to a deal on unfavourable terms.

The UK economy can thrive even if no trade deal is reached with the EU, Mr Martin said.

“As any buyer of a house or car knows, if you want something too badly, you will pay a very high price — especially if your desire is obvious to the counterparty,” Mr Martin said.

The pub operator’s chairman last July printed 200,000 beer mats calling into question the public’s trust of the IMF.

While Wetherspoon’s like-for-like sales rose 5.3% in the 11 weeks through July 9, the UK pub industry is under strain after sterling’s devaluation following the Brexit vote pushed up the cost of imported food and beer.

Bloomberg and Irish Examiner staff


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