The chairman of the JD Wetherspoon pub chain, a leading figure in the Leave campaign in the run up to the 2016 EU referendum, made his endorsement when the former foreign secretary visited one of his London watering holes. Mr Martin said: “Boris Johnson would be a good Prime Minister. He’s been elected Mayor of London twice, which is a multicultural city, and I think it’s very important for the country to have a Brexiteer prime minister to take advantage of all the opportunities of Brexit and who believes in Brexit. He’s a hard worker, he’s charismatic, he’s got strong liberal views. I think he’d make a good Prime Minister.” The businessman said having Mr Johnson in Number 10 “could be a useful string to the Brexit bow”.
He added: “I think that the reality is that the next prime minister is going to come from the Tory party and Boris has a very close association with Brexit having led the campaign to leave during the referendum.
“I have known him since then and I think he could be a useful string in the Brexit bow.”
Mr Johnson said: “I believe in Brexit and campaigned for it. I have a plan to unite our country and have long experience of beating the Labour Left.
“I am the right person to unleash on this project and deliver Brexit by October 31st.”
During his visit to the Metropolitan Bar in Marylebone, Mr Johnson posed for photographs and signed autographs for lunchtime drinkers.
But one customer, finishing a late breakfast, banged the table and chanted “People’s Vote” in a call for a second Brexit referendum.
Mr Johnson walked on, muttering “we’ve already had one”.
Stepping behind the bar, Mr Johnson pulled a pint of Knight Of The Garter from the Windsor and Eton Brewery.
As Mr Johnson and Mr Martin poured their pints, the pub chain boss suggested he was doing “bloody well” with the hand pump and would move “straight up to the higher level of pay” if politics did not work out as a career.
But the pair did not polish off their beers, with Mr Johnson – who had taken part in a TV debate with Jeremy Hunt on Tuesday evening in Salford – noting that “I had quite a late night last night”.
Mr Martin said: “I think he is an impressive guy personally. In spite of what people say, he’s a hard worker, he is charismatic, he has got strong liberal views – which is not what everyone says but it’s definitely true.
“I think he would make a good prime minister.” But he insisted the Brexit Party would still have a role to play in shaping the UK’s exit from the European Union.
He said: “I think the Tory party is quite heavily dominated by people who believe in Remain and there’s definitely a very big role for the Brexit Party in the country.
“It’s a difficult political system with first-past-the-post for minority parties, but I think the Brexit Party has done a really good job in representing the people.”
And Mr Martin indicated that he was not about to start donating some of his cash to the Tories if Mr Johnson did become the next prime minister.
“I’ve donated money to the Leave campaign but that’s a good question. I have no plans to dip my hand in my pocket just at the moment,” he said.