Tim Martin tells Boris Johnson to change COVID approach or risk ‘sinking like a stone’

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During an interivew’s with talkRADIO’s Mike Parry, the Wetherspoons chairman urged the Prime Minister and the UK Government to change their approach to the COVID-19 crisis. Mr Martin told Boris Johnson that he must start “swimming” as the tides are changing. 

Mr Parry said: “If you had a one to one with Boris Johnson the Prime Minister right now what would you say?”

Mr Martin said: “I would say Boris, you have got to change course.

“You have got to start swimming or you will sink like a stone.

“The tides are changing, you have got to change course.”

On Friday, Mr Martin backed Boris Johnson’s announcement that the UK should “get ready” for no trade deal with the European Union.

The Brexiteer businessman reiterated that Britain would “be better off with no deal” following a growing feud between the UK and EU over Brexit talks.

Mr Martin was asked on Sky New whether the UK should “bother” trying to get a last-ditch deal with the EU.

He responded: “It’s always worth bothering. It entirely depends, I always thought, on the EU.

“Personally I think we’d be better off with no deal, as I’ve said many times before, in reducing tariffs and going for a free trade approach.

“If the EU want to get a deal, that’s fine – if they don’t want a deal, there is nothing you can do!”

On Friday, Mr Johnson told the UK to prepare for an Australia-style trade agreement with the European Union.

“Given that they have refused to negotiate seriously for much of the last few months, and given that this summit appears explicitly to rule out a Canada-style deal, I have concluded that we should get ready for January 1 with arrangements that are more like Australia’s based on simple principles of global free trade.


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“We can do it, because we always knew that there would be change on January 1 whatever type of relationship we had.”

The Prime Minister continued: “So now is the time for our businesses to get ready, and for hauliers to get ready, and for travellers to get ready.

“Of course we are willing to discuss the practicalities with our friends where a lot of progress has already been made, by the way, on such issues as social security, and aviation, nuclear cooperation and so on.

“But for whatever reason it is clear from the summit that after 45 years of membership they are not willing – unless there is some fundamental change of approach – to offer this country the same terms as Canada.

“So with high hearts and complete confidence we will prepare to embrace the alternative.”

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