Belfast Telegraph

Wetherspoon boss to visit 100 pubs for EU debates

By Alan Jones

The Northern Irish chairman of JD Wetherspoon is to visit 100 of the company's pubs in the next four weeks to discuss leaving the EU with customers.

Tim Martin - a leading campaigner for a Brexit - will tell punters why he believes that the UK would be better off outside the union.

He is expected to visit at least one of his company's nine pubs in Northern Ireland.

To tie in with the EU referendum vote, Wetherspoon has printed 280,000 copies of an EU special of its Wetherspoon News magazine, as well as 500,000 copies of an EU magazine offering the views of leading Remain and Leave campaigners.

Mr Martin said: "The EU referendum is extremely important, and I believe it is vital that voters are given the arguments both for and against, so they can make up their minds.

"Our Wetherspoon News EU special brings together a number of articles which I hope that people will read and (which I hope will) help them make up their minds on which way they are going to vote.

"I look forward to speaking with Wetherspoon customers during the next four weeks in our pubs across the UK as part of the EU referendum debate."

In an interview with the Belfast Telegraph earlier this year, Mr Martin said he felt democracy was the key issue at stake in the EU issue.

"When people sit back and think about it, they will see what the EU has become compared to the first ideas for the Common Market," he said.

"The EU is non-democratic in so many ways. I'm more in favour of decision making by a national parliament, so that has to make me in favour of Brexit."

On top of its nine existing pubs in the province, Wetherspoon is planning to open another two in Belfast.

The new locations are at a former JJB Sports on Royal Avenue in Belfast, and in a former Methodist Church on the city's University Road, although Mr Martin, a past pupil of Campbell College, told this paper he was concerned about the "deteriorating condition" of the church.

Belfast Telegraph