'I will vote for Keir Starmer!': Wetherspoons boss and Tory donor Tim Martin 'can see himself voting Labour'

4 October 2023, 18:39 | Updated: 4 October 2023, 18:41

Wetherspoons boss Tim Martin speaks to LBC

Kieran Kelly

By Kieran Kelly

Wetherspoons boss Tim Martin can now see himself voting for Labour, especially if the party adopts "tax equality between supermarkets and pubs".

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Mr Martin, who was a notorious backer of Boris Johnson and the VoteLeave campaign, said he could certainly see himself voting for Sir Keir Starmer.

Despite having donated £50,000 to the Tory party before the 2019 election, Mr Martin told LBC: "I was never a Conservative supporter, I voted for Boris because he was the leader on Brexit."

He added: "I could see myself voting for Labour if they had a decent set of policies."

Asked if there was a certain policy that would make him vote for Labour, Mr Martin said: "It's hard to say...If he comes out with tax equality between supermarkets and pubs, I will vote for Keir Starmer!"

Tim Martin donated to Boris Johnson before the last election
Tim Martin donated to Boris Johnson before the last election. Picture: Getty

Mr Martin revealed in 2019 that he had donated to the Tory party just days before Mr Johnson and his government were elected, defeating Labour's Jeremy Corbyn.

Asked what he wanted in return for his £50,000 donation, Mr Martin said at the time: "Nothing in return for me personally or for the business really.

"Other than the fact I think the business will be better off if the country is run on the basis of a private enterprise system and if we leave the EU."

Read More: Wetherspoons cuts prices on 60 food and drink items - see the full list of deals on offer

Read More: Last orders for 11 more Wetherspoons pubs after 33 close already this year - is your local next?

The donation made Mr Martin part of the Conservative Leaders Group, giving him access to the-then prime minister and other senior Tories, including at dinners and lunches.

The Wetherspoons boss says he was unaware that such a donation would give him such access.

Meanwhile, during last year's leadership election following Liz Truss' 49-day stint in Number 10, Mr Martin backed Rishi Sunak as he faced off against Penny Mourdant.

Tim Martin previously backed Rishi Sunak in the October 2022 leadership race
Tim Martin previously backed Rishi Sunak in the October 2022 leadership race. Picture: Getty

It comes weeks after Wetherspoons announced 11 more clubs would be closing down this year.

The newest set of closures will affect areas across the country, including in Doncaster and Cardiff.

Wetherspoons had already announced last year 32 chains would be closing down after struggling with rising costs and soaring inflation.

On the other hand, branches have been opening, with the chain still boasting 822 pubs in the UK.

You can see an extensive list of Wetherspoons pub closures here.

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