Tim Martin, boss of the pub chain Wetherspoons, branded the desire to stump up a deal with the bloc as “exaggerated” as he hailed the idea of a global Britain.
The multimillionaire Brexiteer’s remarks are a stark contrast to a House of Lords report which argued some UK industries were at “serious risk” if Theresa May divorced Britain from Brussels without a deal.
Speaking on Radio 4, Mr Martin insisted it was wrong to consider the securing of an agreement as the only option available.
Wetherspoons boss Tim Martin is adamant Britain would thrive outside the EU
The desirability of a free trading agreement is exaggerated
Tim Martin, Wetherspoons chief
He said: “We trade in enormous quantities with America for example and we haven’t got a trading agreement with them nor does the EU.
“Facebook, Apple, cars and many other things we get from America and amazingly enough we have a trade surplus with them.
“So we do very well throughout the world, even without trading agreements, the desirability of a free trading agreement is exaggerated.
“We can trade under World Trade Organisation rules, but a free trade agreement is better.”
The pub boss said Britain could fall back on the World Trade Organisation
Mr Martin famously campaigned for Britain to leave the European Union during last year’s referendum by printing anti-EU messages on half a million beer mats.
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In the wide-ranging interviewed aired on Wednesday morning, the pub chief set out his vision for Britain’s post-Brexit immigration policy.
Wetherspoons employs 37,000 staff across the UK, with around 10 per cent of those formed of EU nationals.
Brexit: Results of how the UK voted Mon, March 20, 2017
Much of the North East of the United Kingdom voted to leave the European Union including Sunderland, Gateshead, Darlington, Durham, Hartlepool, Middlesbrough, Stockton, Redcar and Cleveland, North Tyneside and South Tyneside, and Northumberland
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GREAT YARMOUTH: The town of Great Yarmouth on the East Coast of England voted by 72% to leave the European Union.
Although he argued he was in favour of continued immigration, Mr Martin said he was opposed to Brussels’ open-door approach.
“Britain needs a gradually increasing population over the next 30 years,” he continued.
“I do think it needs to be controlled by the government, what people voted against was old Juncker over there in Brussels opening the door to whole countries.
I don’t think that’s a practical proposition for the future. I think we should be liberal with people currently part of the EU.”