Grant EU citizens right to remain in UK after Brexit, Wetherspoon chief urges
The Brexit-backing chairman of JD Wetherspoon has urged the Government to unilaterally grant EU citizens living in the UK the right to remain following the country's impending departure from the bloc.
Tim Martin, who attended school in Northern Ireland, said such a move would give Theresa May the "moral high ground" from which to create an immigration system similar to that of Australia.
Wetherspoon has four pubs in Northern Ireland and plans to open another two in Belfast.
Mr Martin said: "Since virtually no one wants hard-working immigrants from the EU to leave the UK, the Government should start by unilaterally granting them the right to stay.
"Their efforts benefit our economy, we have low unemployment and are also one of the wealthiest countries in the world.
"Immigrants carry out vital jobs in the health service, in the professions and in many other areas of life, as voters realise."
The Prime Minister and Brexit Secretary David Davis have continually refused to guarantee the three million EU citizens living in the UK their current status.
Mr Martin also called on the Government not to negotiate a new trade deal with the EU because it would probably end in a stalemate, and derided the bloc''s representatives as "posturing prima donnas".
He said the UK should adopt World Trade Organisation rules and declare its intention to drop tariffs from all countries that export to here, including the EU.