Wetherspoons condemned for June reopening as minister warns ‘mixed messages help nobody’

Pub chain Wetherspoons’ boss Tim Martin is reportedly planning to reopen in June despite conflicting with existing lockdown restrictions. The Government has maintained a message of caution and been reluctant to lift the coronavirus measures too early. Speaking to BBC Breakfast, Justice Secretary Robert Buckland advised businesses to “work with Government” instead of going rogue.


He said: “My advice to all businesses is please work together with Government.

“We need to have a coordinated approach to this.

“Mixed messages help nobody.

“One of the great successes of these last few terrible weeks has been the clarity of the messaging.”

Mr Buckland continued: “The public have really understood it, embraced it and got on with the job collectively.

“I think working together is the way we’re going to deal with this crisis.

“So my plea is for us to be unified and work with each other.

“We need to listen to each other and follow the guidance and the rules that we’ve set out clearly.”

Wetherspoons has not outlined how it plans to reopen in June, although chairman Tim Martin has said they are “looking forward” to it.

He told the BBC: “In these challenging times I would like to thank everyone at the company, its suppliers, landlords, banks and the government for their support and commitment. We’ve had to take significant action to reduce costs, decisions which have not been taken lightly.

“We look forward to re‐opening our pubs and hotels and welcoming back our teams in the near future.”

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Mr Buckland also defended Matt Hancock as today marks the deadline for the Health Secretary’s target of 100,000 tests a day.

The Justice Secretary told BBC Breakfast: “If he hasn’t set a target, he would have been criticised for being unambitious.

“I think now is the time, in respect of this, to be bold.

“We’ve got to be cautious about the evidence, but we need to be bold about our ambitioons when it comes to testing.

“Frankly I think he would have been criticised if he’d been a bit timid about this.”

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