Wetherspoon boss Tim Martin blasts No10 'hypocrisy' saying pubs should have been open

19 January 2022, 15:42 | Updated: 19 January 2022, 16:30

Tim Martin hit out at Boris Johnson
Tim Martin hit out at Boris Johnson. Picture: Alamy

By Will Taylor

Downing Street staff should have been allowed to go to pubs instead of party in the garden, Tim Martin and his Wetherspoon's chain has said - as he accused Government of hypocrisy.

Listen to this article

Loading audio...

Mr Martin, who has been outspoken on the impact of Covid rules on pubs and hospitality, said had staff monitored by CCTV in a pub it would have been easier to determine if rules were broken.

His chain's official statement so the London Stock Exchange said there would have been "a number of advantages for the nation" had No10's staff been allowed to go to a pub

"Public anger regarding 'partygate' relates mainly to hypocrisy - the public was prevented from seeing friends and family, while the same rules were not observed at 10 Downing Street," it read.

Read more: End of Covid Plan B: PM scraps WFH and face masks as he fights to keep job

Read more: Red wall breached: Tory MP Christian Wakeford defects to Labour

"Central London pubs employ experienced staff, including highly trained managers, who would have easily dealt with the 'high jinks' alleged to have occurred at No 10.

"CCTV is in operation in central London pubs, so subsequent inquiries as to events are facilitated by the ready availability of evidence."

Downing Street is fighting against a deluge of accusations that its staff repeatedly flouted Covid rules to party.

Reports on get-togethers have included a boozy event the night before the Queen attended Prince Philip's funeral – which No10 apologised over - and claims of a party which ended up with Mr Johnson's son Wilf reportedly having his swing broken by one reveller.

Mr Johnson has asked for critics to wait for the outcome of an inquiry led by civil servant Sue Gray.

Mr Martin, a Brexit supporter, had backed Mr Johnson in 2019, when the latter ran for leadership of the Conservative Party.

But the sharp statement shows the company's frustration at how Covid rules impacted its business.

The company reported a 16.6% drop in sales in the 12 weeks to mid-January, as Omicron hit hospitality.