JDW says Brexit beer mats were illegal claims are ‘truly pathetic’

By Alice Leader contact

- Last updated on GMT

Company breach claim: JDW’s Tim Martin dismisses views that Brexit beer mats are illegal
Company breach claim: JDW’s Tim Martin dismisses views that Brexit beer mats are illegal

Related tags: Wetherspoon, Tim martin

JD Wetherspoon (JDW) chairman Tim Martin has hit back at claims that his pro-leave Brexit beer mats were in breach of company law for failing to seek shareholder approval before the EU referendum.

The giant managed pub chain, of which Martin owns 32%, spent £94,856 during the referendum campaign, including £18,000 on 1.5m Brexit beer mats.

According to the Electoral Commission records, £8,400 was spent on a further 200,000 mats, and £68,186 on another 200,000 mats, 5,000 posters and 500,00 booklets.

Under the Companies Act 2006 legislation, the spending was constituted as political expenditure, and such spending must be approved by shareholders.

Dragging up expenditure

But claims have suggested that JDW did not seek this approval in the run-up to the 2016 EU referendum.

Wetherspoon chairman Tim Martin said: “Dragging up relatively small amounts of expenditure, declared to the Electoral Commission over three years ago, while ignoring the huge amount spent by big business in supporting ‘Remain’ is truly pathetic.”

The pub chain also published an edition of its Wetherspoon News​ magazine, featuring a two-page pro-Brexit editorial by Martin, nine pages of Eurosceptic articles and four pages of pro-EU articles.

Martin continued: “The referendum edition of Wetherspoon News​ balanced my support for ‘Leave’ with articles by ‘Remain’ supporters David Cameron, Anna Soubry, Nick Clegg and Martin Wolf.”

Finding fault

Martin has dismissed views that his Brexit beer mats failed to comply with the legislation.

He said: “The Guardian​ supports the EU with religious zeal and is desperate to find fault with Brexit supporters.

The Guardian​ is far too sectarian to ever have included a similar concentration of articles from Brexit supporters in its publication.”

Related topics: JD Wetherspoon

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