Shareholder Group Criticises Wetherspoon For Pro-Brexit Campaign
Shareholder group Pirc has urged JD Wetherspoon investors to reject the pub chain's annual report due to the company's alleged failure to clear pro-Brexit spending.
Pirc's assertion comes after Wetherspoon spent close to £95,000 on pro-Brexit beermats, posters and booklets during the 2016 referendum campaign. Pirc said that political expenditure such as this requires the backing of shareholders, as reported by BBC.com.
Pirc quoted legal experts as saying that Wetherspoon could be in breach of the Companies Act as a result of its financial support for Brexit and has called on shareholders to oppose the pub chain's financial statements at its next annual general meeting, which is due to take place on November 21.
Wetherspoon responded by stating that by declaring its spending to the Electoral Commission, it had honoured its responsibilities. However, Pirc said, "Companies are also meant to declare annual political spending above £2,000 in their annual report, which JD Wetherspoon did not do."
Pirc also quoted legal experts as stating that approval from shareholders is required for activities "capable of being reasonably regarded as intended to influence voters in relation to any national or regional referendum".
Wetherspoon said that it disputes that interpretation and claims that the law did not require the company to seek the backing of its investors.
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