Wetherspoon boss attacks 'Oxbridge' Remainers for 'frustrating' Brexit as sales rise

The founder and chairman of pub group JD Wetherspoon (JDW.L) has criticised "a technocratic elite" for "frustrating" Brexit, as his company announced rising sales but a dip in profits.

Tim Martin used his company's preliminary results on Friday to criticise rebel Tory MPs who voted against the government to avoid a no deal Brexit.

"John Bercow, Emily Thornberry, Dominic Grieve, Keir Starmer, Jo Johnson, Philip Hammond, David Gauke, David Lidington, Hilary Benn, Rory Stewart and many other pro-EU Oxbridge MPs have played a leading role in frustrating the referendum result, by enmeshing parliament in a legal and administrative spider's web," Martin wrote in the results statement.

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Wetherspoon chairman Tim Martin speaks during a rally of the Brexit Party in Peterborough, Britain May 7, 2019. REUTERS/Simon Dawson
Founder and Chairman of Wetherspoon Tim Martin speaks during the Brexit Party's 'We Are Ready' event at Colchester United Football Club in Essex.
Conservative Party leadership candidate Boris Johnson during a visit to Wetherspoons Metropolitan Bar in London with Tim Martin, Chairman of JD Wetherspoon.
Conservative Party leadership candidate Boris Johnson during a visit to Wetherspoons Metropolitan Bar in London with Tim Martin, Chairman of JD Wetherspoon.
Conservative Party leadership candidate Boris Johnson during a visit to Wetherspoons Metropolitan Bar in London with Tim Martin, Chairman of JD Wetherspoon.
JD Wetherspoon chairman Tim Martin during a Brexit Party rally in Peterborough King's Gate Conference Centre as part of their European Parliament election campaign.
JD Wetherspoon's chair Tim Martin speaks during a "Leave Means Leave" rally in London, Britain January 17, 2019. REUTERS/Simon Dawson
Former London Mayor Boris Johnson (R) speaks with J D Wetherspoon Chairman Tim Martin during a Vote Leave reception in Exeter, Britain May 11, 2016. REUTERS/Darren Staples
SEDGEFIELD, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 11: Leader of the Brexit Party Nigel Farage (R) speaks with Brexit Party supporter Tim Martin, the founder and chairman of Wetherspoon, before addressing party members and delegates at Sedgefield Racecourse during the Brexit Party Conference tour on September 11, 2019 in Sedgefield, England. The rally is part of a nationwide conference tour in which Nigel Farage will address audiences around the country. In readiness for a possible general election the party has already selected prospective parliamentary candidates in most constituencies across the UK. (Photo by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)
COLCHESTER, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 02: Founder and Chairman of Wetherspoon Tim Martin addresses party members and delegates at the JobServe Community Stadium during the first rally of the Brexit Party Conference tour on September 2, 2019 in Colchester, England. The rally marks the start of a nationwide conference tour in which Nigel Farage will address audiences around the country. In readiness for a possible general election the party has already selected prospective parliamentary candidates in most constituencies in the UK. (Photo by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 14: Labour MP Kate Hoey and Wetherspoon’s Chairman Tim Martin attend a 'Leave Means Leave' Brexit rally at the Queen Elizabeth II Centre on December 14, 2018 in London, England. Several politicians and public figures will speak at a series of rallies by the Leave Means Leave campaign calling on the Government to push ahead with Britain's swift departure from the European Union. (Photo by Jack Taylor/Getty Images)
TORQUAY, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 13: Tim Martin, founder and chairman of JD Wetherspoon (L), MEP and former leader of the UK Independence Party Nigel Farage (C) Conservative MP Jacob Rees-Mogg (R) wait to speak at the 'Leave Means Rally' at the Rivera International Centre on October 13, 2018 in Torquay, England. Leave Means Leave is a pro-Brexit campaign, holding a series of rallies and events across the United Kingdom. (Photo by Matt Cardy/Getty Images)
MIDSOMER NORTON, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 21: Jacob Rees-Mogg, Member of Parliament for North East Somerset, and JD Wetherspoon owner Tim Martin (L) speak with drinkers as they visit a recently opened branch of JD Wetherspoon, on September 21, 2018 in Midsomer Norton, England. Jacob Rees-Mogg, chairman of the European Research Group and a staunch supporter of Brexit, was joined on the visit by JD Wetherspoon owner Tim Martin, who also campaigned for the UK to leave the European Union in the 2016 referendum. (Photo by Matt Cardy/Getty Images)
MIDSOMER NORTON, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 21: Jacob Rees-Mogg, Member of Parliament for North East Somerset, and JD Wetherspoon owner Tim Martin (R), visit a recently opened branch of JD Wetherspoon, on September 21, 2018 in Midsomer Norton, England. Jacob Rees-Mogg, chairman of the European Research Group and a staunch supporter of Brexit, was joined on the visit by JD Wetherspoon owner Tim Martin, who also campaigned for the UK to leave the European Union in the 2016 referendum. (Photo by Matt Cardy/Getty Images)
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Martin also criticised the Scottish High Court judge who this week ruled that Boris Johnson abused his powers by proroguing parliament for 5-weeks ahead of the October 31 Brexit deadline.

He said democratic power has been diluted in the UK over the last 30 years and "voters resent this loss of power — and distrust of politicians and the 'elite' is the result."

The government's own planning documents suggest a no deal Brexit could be highly disruptive and the Bank of England has warned that falling out of the EU with no transition deal could lead to a 5.5% fall in GDP.

However, Martin argued that not having to pay EU tariffs on products like rice, oranges, bananas, Australian wine, and car parts would actually boost the UK economy.

"Above all, no-deal increases UK democracy — the most powerful economic stimulant," he wrote.

"It is an absurdity to argue that a reduction in UK input costs, combined with increased democracy, will have a harmful effect on the economy — just as it would be absurd for a business to adopt this argument if its own costs were reduced."

Martin is one of the most high-profile Brexit-supporting business people in the UK. He recently announced that JD Wetherspoon would knock 20p off the price of a pint to show how prices would fall if the UK left the customs union.

The move was criticised when it was pointed out that the price cuts affected a beer made in the UK with ingredients only source from Britain, meaning it is not subject to customs duties.

Martin wrote on Friday: "Elite Remainers are ignoring the 'big picture', regarding lower input costs and more democracy, and are mistakenly concentrating on assumed short-term problems, such as potential delays at Channel ports — which are easier to extrapolate on their computer models."

The attack on Remain-supporting politicians and those who oppose no deal came as Wetherspoon reported a rise in sales for the 52 weeks to July 28.

Sales at the pub group rose by 6.8% and revenue rose by 7.4% to £1.8bn. Pre-tax profit dipped by 4.5% to £102.5m and operating profit declined by 0.3% to £131.9m. When exceptional items are included, pre-tax profit rose by 7.2% to £95.4m.

"Despite continuing political problems, stemming from the transfer of democratic power to a technocratic elite, Wetherspoon continues to perform well," Martin wrote.

- This article first appeared on Yahoo

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