JD Wetherspoon chief Tim Martin warns Brexit doom-mongering could lead to slowdown

Tim Martin accused Christine Lagarde and Mark Carney of 'irresponsible doom-mongering'

Zlata Rodionova
Wednesday 13 July 2016 11:01
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Tim Martin has seen £18 million wiped off the value of his shares in the days following the Brexit vote
Tim Martin has seen £18 million wiped off the value of his shares in the days following the Brexit vote

Tim Martin, the chairman of JD Wetherspoon, has accused the IMF, the Bank of England and other major financial organisations of “irresponsible doom-mongering”, warning such talk could lead to a potential economic slowdown.

Martin, an outspoken critic of David Cameron and the Remain campaign, went as far as distributing more than 500,000 beer mats calling for UK to vote out of the EU membership ahead of the vote.

On Tuesday, Martin used his company’s latest trading statement to dismiss warnings following the referendum.

He singled out Christine Lagarde, IMF managing director, who warned that the consequence of a Brexit vote could be “pretty bad to very, very bad”.

He also said Mark Carney, the Bank of England governor and the Chancellor George Osborne were either dishonest or had a poor understanding of economics.

“In my opinion, the above individuals and organisations are either dishonest, or they have a poor understanding of economics, since democracy and prosperity are closely linked and the EU is clearly undemocratic,” Martin said.

“By voting to restore democracy in the UK, I believe the UK's economic prospects will improve, although it is quite possible that the unprecedented and irresponsible doom-mongering, outlined above, may lead to some kind of slowdown,” he added.

Martin described Brexit as the new Magna Carta – one of the most celebrated documents in history which for the first time, established the principle that everybody, including the king, was subject to law.

“Brexit is a modern Magna Carta, reasserting democratic control in the UK. It is up to UK citizens now to participate in formulating policies based on free trade with Europe and the world, an enterprise economy and sensible immigration policies, with parliamentary control,” he said.

“Big Brother in Brussels is no longer in charge. The world is our oyster, provided we think clearly, debate strongly and prevent the paranoia and hyperbole of the referendum process from clouding our judgement,“ he added.

JD Wetherspoon’s chairman made the comments alongside a company’s trading update which saw like-for-like sale rise 4 per cent in the final quarter and increase 3.4 per cent over the year.

”In spite of the dire warnings above, Wetherspoon trade strengthened slightly in recent weeks and we consequently anticipate a modestly improved outcome for this financial year. Caution should be exercised in extrapolating current levels of sales growth for future years,“ Martin said.

Martin said ahead of the vote that his company would not be affected if Britain voted to leave the EU. But he had £18 million wiped off the value of his shares in the days following the Brexit vote – a very poor return on the £224,000 he spent on campaigning to leave the EU.

He was not the only Leave donor to suffer financial losses after the vote. Hargreaves Lansdown owner, Peter Hargreaves, gave £3.2 to the Leave campaign then saw £300 million wiped off the value of his firm.

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