The Brexit-backing chairman of JD Wetherspoon has urged the government to unilaterally grant EU citizens living in Britain the right to remain following the country’s departure from the bloc.
Tim Martin said such a move would give Theresa May the “moral high ground” from which to create an immigration system similar to that of Australia, Singapore or New Zealand.
Immigrants carry out vital jobs in many areas of UK lifeTim Martin
He said: “Since virtually no one wants hard-working immigrants from the EU to leave the UK, the government should start by unilaterally granting them the right to stay. Their efforts benefit our economy, we have low unemployment and are also one of the wealthiest countries in the world.
“Immigrants carry out vital jobs in the health service, in the professions and in many other areas of UK life, as UK voters understand.”
The Prime Minister and Brexit secretary David Davis have continually refused to guarantee the three million EU citizens living in Britain their current status, leaving the threat of forced deportation lingering.
Martin also called on the government not to bother negotiating a new trade deal with the EU because it would probably end in a stalemate, and derided the bloc’s representatives as “posturing prima donnas”.
He said Britain should adopt World Trade Organisation rules and declare its intention to drop tariffs from all countries that export to the UK, including the EU.
“This will dramatically reduce consumer prices in the shops, thereby increasing purchasing power and our general standard of living,” Martin said.
“Singapore, Hong Kong, Israel and Norway, for example, have dropped almost all tariffs and their economies have raced ahead. It is possible that the EU will impose tariffs on our exports to the EU even so, but let them do it, since the tariffs imposed will be relatively small – less than half the amount the UK will save by ending its EU contributions in two years’ time.”