The founder and chairman of national pub chain J.D. Wetherspoon Tim Martin popped into one of his Burnley pubs for a chat about Brexit over a pint.
The prominent Brexit champion visited The Boot Inn to chat to locals about the ongoing Brexit deadlock and why he thinks a ‘No Deal’ would be best for the UK.
Part of a nationwide tour of his pubs, Mr Martin was keen to stress he had visited premises in Remain voting towns, as well as strong Leave voting towns like Burnley.
In Burnley he found a pub busy with regulars, young and old, enjoying cooked breakfasts, pints and cups of tea, keen to talk Brexit and have their photographs taken with the flamboyant businessman.
Despite his views being debated strongly in other towns, Mr Martin found plenty of support in Burnley with a number of regulars cheering when he championed the idea of leaving without a deal.
Asked why he felt Burnley had voted strongly to leave the European Union he said he believed the public felt ‘a sense of alienation as regards the EU.’
Mr Martin said: “The EU has made itself too remote. I think people instinctively feel that the further away they move from London that it’s an institution which isn’t properly democratic.
“People like to feel that their vote counts. By having a lot of laws made in Europe by unelected presidents and MEPs they cannot identify it’s created a feeling in the whole of Europe, as it has in Burnley, that it’s too remote and not responding to my vote.”
Mr Martin later reiterated his belief that the EU was not democratic and that ‘democracy is the biggest economic benefit of all.’
He added: “There is a lot of doom and gloom about Brexit at the moment which is unjustified – catastrophe is the word of the moment.
“I don’t think it’s true that if we leave without a deal then we won’t do well.
“The UK will immediately gain by non-payment of the proposed £39 billion, for which lawyers have repeatedly confirmed there is no legal liability.
“No deal also allows parliament, on March 29th 2019, to slash import taxes (tariffs) on over 12,000 non-EU products, including oranges, rice, coffee, wine and children’s clothes.
“Ending these tariffs will immediately reduce shop prices to UK consumers.
“There is no loss of income to the government from slashing these tariffs, since the proceeds are currently remitted to Brussels.
“Most importantly, no deal allows the UK to regain control of historic fishing grounds, where 60% of fish today are landed by EU boats.
“Also, the UK will be more democratic. Democracy and free trade provide economic steroids for the future.
“In reality, Theresa May’s deal is a mechanism for remaining trapped in an undemocratic and financially inefficient system.”
Mr Martin persevered with his belief that the scare stories of leaving without a deal were unjustified and highlighted that only 7% of the world’s population live in the EU.
This is despite a recent warning from the CBI that a no deal Brexit would seriously harm the UK and indeed the world’s economies.