London mayor Sadiq Khan says the city has a symbiotic relationship with the European Union’s single market and he is confident it will continue as the government negotiates the UK’s way out of EU membership.
Khan also revealed he would be taking a trip with his predecessor Boris Johnson, who was appointed foreign secretary last week, “batting for our city and our country overseas”.
Speaking at the London Assembly’s Mayor’s Question Time this morning, Khan said: “Membership of the single market is an important part London’s identity as a global city. But the relationship is not one way. London’s status as one of the leading international cities brings a lot to the single market.
“This is one of the main reasons I’m confident London will remain a part of the single market. It’s also why it’s important London has a seat at the negotiating table and I’ll be making this case again to the government in the days ahead.”
Khan said he was meeting with “very senior members of government” this week and next to secure a role at the negotiating table, alongside Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales, when the UK negotiates its exit from the European Union.
“This is not a zero sum game. London is a powerhouse for our country. If London does well, then the rest of the country does well,” Khan told the London Assembly.
Khan said London would enjoy greater prosperity if it were part of the single market and that this view was shared by businesses, universities and entrepreneurs, as he pointed out the EU accounts for 30 to 40 per cent of the city’s exports.
“It helps attract inward investment to the capital and the UK. It also supplies a rich pool of skilled and experienced talent – one of London’s key strengths,” Khan said.
Khan also revealed Rajesh Agrawal, deputy mayor of London for business, would be reviewing promotional body London and Partners and looking at how it could better collaborate with UKTI.
In the lead up to the EU referendum, the IMF warned that Brexit would erode London’s status as a global financial hub “as UK-based firms may lose their ‘passporting’ rights to provide financial services to the rest of the EU and much euro-denominated business may over time move to the continent”.
A report by the Economic Intelligence Unit said London would fail to compete with New York, because the UK population and economy was insignificant compared to the US.