Wetherspoon's shareholders under pressure to act over boss' pro-Brexit spending

PUBLISHED: 15:29 07 November 2019 | UPDATED: 15:49 07 November 2019

Tim Martin, Chairman of JD Wetherspoon with Prime Minister Boris Johnson during a visit to Wetherspoons Metropolitan Bar in London. Photo: Henry Nicholls / PA

Tim Martin, Chairman of JD Wetherspoon with Prime Minister Boris Johnson during a visit to Wetherspoons Metropolitan Bar in London. Photo: Henry Nicholls / PA

PA Wire/PA Images

An influential investment group has told the investors of JD Wetherspoon to vote down an annual report because of concerns on pro-Brexit spending.

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The Pensions and Investment Research Consultants (PIRC) group said the annual report may have bias after the Guardian raised questions about the pub-chain spending almost £95,000 during the 2016 referendum campaign.

The newspaper claims the chain mayhave also broken company law by buying and distributing 1.9 million beermats supporting Brexit.

READ MORE: Wetherspoon's boss could become peer as Boris Johnson plans to 'flood' Lords with Brexiteers

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PIRC approved Wetherspoon's report in 2018, but has changed its view this year due to concerns about referendum spending alongside apparently weak policies on sustainability.

PIRC told their investor clients that due to these sustainability concerns, "and as a precautionary measure against potential political expenditure concerns, an oppose vote is recommended."

READ MORE: Wetherspoon's shares drop as boss pulls Brexit 'savings' stunt

Tim Martin, who owns 32% of the company, has often used his pubs as a means of elevating his own pro-Leave views, through distributing beermats and even a Eurosceptic magazine.

J D Wetherspoon said they will not be commenting on the matter until after their annual general meeting.

In a text sent to the Guardian, Martin reportedly simply commented "PIRC rhymes with berk".

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