Wetherspoon boss threatens EU brands with axe

The boss of JD Wetherspoon has said the pub chain may delist European brands in favour of British alternatives should the EU continue to play hardball with the UK over Brexit negotiations.

Tim Martin criticised the “intransigent” attitude of EU leaders, including Angel Merkel, François Hollande and Jean-Claude Juncker, who he claims have told European business leaders not to negotiate with their British counterparts.

He said products including French wine, Champagne and spirits, German beer and Swedish cider were all at “extreme risk” of being delisted should consumers take offence “at the hectoring and bullying approach of Juncker and co”.

Martin noted that the company normally agrees on trade deals with suppliers for three to 10 years. He added that if Wetherspoon and other UK businesses are unable to agree on tariff-free transactions, it will inevitably result in a loss of business for European companies which he said “have done nothing to deserve this outcome”.

Martin has been a long-time critic of the EU and was unusual among his food industry peers in voicing his strong support for Brexit during the referendum campaign.

He was speaking during a Q1 trading update in which Wetherspoon announced a 3.5% increase in like-for-like sales for the 13 weeks to 23 October 2016.

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