Fancy an award-winning Belgian White or a German Weisse? Tough – Wetherspoons boss Tim Martin has announced he is looking at getting rid of all EU products
The Brexiteer has said his firm was reviewing its “whole range” of products from the EU to see if they could be replaced by alternatives from Britain or non-EU countries.
Mr Martin told The Times that what he described as “back of envelope” calculations showed it would mean replacing 20% of the products in its 880 pubs UK-wide.
He told the paper: ‘We’d like to have the option of replacing all EU products.
‘It’s a good exercise which all UK supermarkets and retailers should go through, even if it’s just a desktop exercise.
“They might find they have alternatives from the UK or outside the EU which are better value and that might help their businesses and help UK consumers.’
He bizarrely blamed Jean-Claude Juncker, the European Commission president, and Michel Barnier, the EU’s chief Brexit negotiator, for any move away from EU imports, claiming they had put suppliers “in the firing line”.
It was reported that one of those who would be worst hit by any such move would be Lavazzo, the Italian coffee firm brand whose wares are sold in the pub chain to the tune of 50m cups a year.
Mr Martin said: ‘At the moment there’s a tariff on coffee that is ground outside the EU.
“So if we leave the EU and abolish tariffs, which we can do, it opens up a lot of competition to Lavazza,’
One of the more vocal Brexiteers in the business world, Mr Martin has described Brexit as a “new Magna Carta” and prior to the referendum frequently blamed the EU for tax rises which in actual fact had nothing to do with it.
He has since used his position to campaign for the hardest of Brexits, although has said he would like his own staff to stay “since virtually no one wants hard-working immigrants from the EU to leave the UK”.
Last year he put half-a-million brightly-coloured beer mats into his pubs outlining his support for a no-deal outcome to the Brussels talks, to the confusion of people who had only popped in for a pre-10am livener.
His propaganda mats advocated various policies the government should adopt, including axing import taxes on food – which would, he claimed, reduce prices – and halting payments to the EU of ‘£200m per week’.
This year’s Sunday Times Rich List estimated his wealth at £448m.