Tim Martin, founder of pub chain JD Wetherspoon, said the UK doesn’t need to sign a trade deal with the European Union because his pubs don’t sign deals with suppliers.
“Wetherspoon’s experience indicates that reaching formal trade deals with reluctant counterparties is impossible — and it is unwise to try,” Martin said in a statement on Friday.
“If the EU is keen for a trade deal, we should cooperate, but unelected apparatchiks like President Juncker can’t be controlled – which is one of the main reasons we voted to leave,” he said.
Martin said that while he “personally agreed on terms” with a major supplier to the pub chain, the deal was never officially signed. This didn’t stop the two firms trading “without interruption” for 37 years.
Martin made the comments in the company’s annual results statement. JD Wetherspoon reported a 3.4% increase in like-fo-like sales in the year ended 24 July.
Martin says that the ministers leading negotiations with the EU post-Brexit don’t need to do anything because the balance of trade favours the UK.
“If WTO tariffs apply, the UK will receive twice as much as it pays,” he says. “Boris Johnson, David Davis and Liam Fox will achieve far more for the UK by copying Francis Drake and playing bowls in Plymouth, rather than hankering after an EU agreement, although time spent in improving arrangements with Singapore, New Zealand and India, for example, may be well spent.”
Martin is a vocal supporter of Brexit, launching two waves of anti-European Union beer mats ahead of the June referendum on Britain’s membership of the 28-nation bloc. In the run up to vote, the pub chain printed 500,000 beer mats to be stocked in its 920 pubs across the UK carrying a message addressed to Chancellor George Osborne attacking “cronyism.”