Tim Martin, boss of Wetherspoon’s, has tonight hit out at the Government after the Prime Minister introduced the 10.00 pm curfew on pubs, bars and restaurants – which could last six months, so impacting on venues over the busy pre- Christmas festive and New Year season.

He branded the move a public relations exercise and insisted pubs were not behind the recent surge in Covid-19 infections.

He also put forward the idea that the Prime Minister was imposing the curfew ‘to be seen to be doing something’.

Mr Martin, who founded Wetherspoon’s, said, ‘I think the Government is out of touch and out of control. Most people think of a pub, a vision from their youth, people dancing, loud music and raucous behaviour. Most pubs are not like that and no pub when operating social distancing is like that.’

He asked, ‘Why have they done it? The only thing I can think of is they must have seen the data for pubs with very low figures for transmissions, so the reason they have done is for PR reasons. They want to be seen to be doing something. A curfew is a bad idea because at the moment there’s relatively low level of transmissions in pubs.’

He said, of the 861 Wetherspoon pubs, as of last week, 810 had no infections reported and all were operating track and trace with 40 pubs having only one infection reported.  He added that only hand-washing and social distancing was proven to work against virus transmissions and Tim Martin tonight called on Parliament to “take charge” to debate the way forward, recommending MPs look at how Sweden is tackling the pandemic.

Sacha Lord, the night time economy adviser for Manchester, agreed. ‘This is obviously going to create an upsurge in house parties. People are not going to leave pubs and bars and tuck themselves up in bed at 10pm. Come kicking-out time at 10pm, I don’t think you will see crime and disorder but an explosion of house parties.’