The founder of a major pub chain has been on Wearside to drum up support for a No Deal Brexit from the European Union.
Tim Martin, who is chairman of JD Wetherspoon, was at The William Jameson in Sunderland’s Fawcett Street.
He was in the city as part of a whistle-stop tour of the country as he speaks of what he sees as the economic advantages of leaving the EU on March 29 next year without a deal.
He sees the future as adopting the free trade approach of countries like New Zealand, Canada, Australia, Singapore and Israel.
These advantages will be lost, Mr Martin argues, if the Government signs up for a deal with the EU, which keeps the UK tied in to the EU customs union.
He said: “I think a ‘no deal’ is a better outcome for the country.
“There’s a tremendous amount of fear being dispensed by the CBI and pro-remain organisations and, unfortunately, quite a lot of MPs have swallowed it.
“I think that, with a no deal, we can save £39billion, we can eliminate tariffs on food, children’s clothes and a lot of items that people in this city buy every day.”
He added: “I also think we can regain control of fishing and more democracy and this combination of things is very powerful, particularly democracy, because it’s very closely linked to prosperity and the EU is becoming more undemocratic.”
Ian McCready, 55, of Pallion, had to come see the businessman speak and said he was in “very impressed” by Mr Martin’s comments.
“I’m very angry and annoyed because I voted to leave in 2016 and I expected that this country would show some courage,” said Mr McCready.
“I’ve found Parliament to be a set of cowards to be honest, but I think that the EU will break up after we leave.
“We joined the common market when I was 10 and I don’t think we should have ever gone in.”
Maureen Melvin, 72, of Seaburn Dene, who was enjoying a meal with her sister Caroline Hindmarsh, 68, of Thorney Close, voted to remain in the referendum.
“They’ve had two years now to get a deal and they haven’t,” said Maureen.
“Nobody seems to want the job of actually doing things, apart from Boris Johnson that is.
“But I think it will all work out in the end.”