WETHERSPOONS boss Tim Martin may well have been preaching to the converted when he took his Brexit roadshow to East Lancashire.

And punters at the Boot Inn in Burnley, one of his two hostelries in the town, appeared just as interested in getting selfies with the pubs mogul as in his ‘no deal’ -backing presentation.

But in a borough in which two-thirds voted to leave the European Union, you might expect a fairly rapturous reception.

Mr Martin entered the historic St James Street pub, one of five he has in East Lancashire, with little fanfare. Among the crowd was at least one landlord of another town pub, keen to see what he had to say.

He was on the first leg of a whistle-stop countywide tour, which would later take him to The Grey Friar, in Preston, and The Velvet Coaster, on Blackpool’s front.

He told customers he was embarking on his 100-date tour because he felt strongly there was too much “doom and gloom” surrounding Brexit.

Dire warnings about the consequences of crashing out on March 29 with no definitive arrangements were a “weird approach” to the question, he said.

Mr Martin, 63, added: “Everyone knows that’s silly and we have got a choice coming up. We can leave without ports being locked up, planes will fly and our food will be cheaper. What is not to like?”

He also railed against the lack of accountability of the likes of ‘President Junker’ and ‘President Tusk’and backed the scrapping of several import tariffs, which would aid UK eateries and pubs.

And the spectre of the Irish ‘back stop’ was also quickly dispatched.

“It is a put-up job - I don’t think it’s a real issue,” he said.

He told customer he had been brought up in Belfast, amid rival Loyalist and Nationalist communities, and knew there was broad agreement there should not be a hard border in place.

“Wetherspoons exports beer to the Republic of Ireland and have to pay beer duty,” he said.

“They know we sell beer and make regular trips across the border and every month we write them a cheque for the duty.”

The pub boss highlighted an experiment which the company had conducted, first announced last September, to replace continental products with homegrown alternatives.

Switching out champagne for English sparking wine and Courvoisier for the American brandy E&J and the Australian brandy Black Bottle is one thing.

But he was keen to flag up the removal of his top-seller, Jagermeister, for the north-west alternative Stryka, which is bottled just up the road in Chorley.

“They have taken the opportunity and it is selling extremely well, the same with our English sparkling wine,” he said.

Before too long he was warming to his favoured themes of fishing rights being returned and £39billion being redeposited in the Chancellor’s coffers, once Brexit materialises.

The visit had echoes of his last stop-off in these parts, when he spoke to a similar assembly at The Postal Order in Blackburn.

His confirmation that the plans to install 22 rooms on the second floor of the old sorting office would proceed in the next 18 months won him plenty of friends then.

Mr Martin said: “It’s a very exciting chapter for the pub. It’s in a great, central position.

“It’s a very historic, beautiful building in the town centre.”

Once completed the scheme, which has planning permission, should generate 15 jobs locally.

The company also has the Brun Lea in Burnley, The Commercial in Accrington and The Wallace Hartley in Colne on its books.