When the capital voted in the recent referendum, it did so clearly in favour of remaining within the EU. Over 59% (2.26 million) of people in London’s 33 boroughs, including the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, voted against Brexit.
It is, therefore, unsurprising that Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, today said in a speech to top business leaders that the city needs more autonomy in the aftermath of the EU referendum.
The Mayor is in effect asking for many of the powers over fiscal budgeting, housing, and transport which he campaigned for before the referendum.
In his speech, Khan says: “On behalf of all Londoners, I am demanding more autonomy for the capital – right now. More autonomy in order to protect London’s economy from the uncertainty ahead, to protect the businesses from around the world who trade here and to protect our jobs, wealth and prosperity.”
The Mayor’s demand came as he referenced a petition calling for London to declare independence that has now been signed by over 175,000 people since Friday. The Mayor was, however, also quick to declare that “as much as I might like the idea of a London city state, I’m not seriously talking about independence today. I am not planning to install border points on the M25!”
He also made the point that he was not “asking for London to get a bigger slice of the British pie”, only for Londoners to “get more control over the slice of the pie we already get.”
Reassuring people in the rest of the UK that they will benefit from more devolution for London ”because when London succeeds, the rest of the country succeeds too. And when we fail, the entire nation fails.”
Speaking at The Times CEO Summit, Sadiq Khan urged the Government to “move fast” on devolution, and said “we can’t hang around for the outcome of the negotiations before we give Londoners more control”.
He mentioned the strong support for devolution from the Chancellor George Osborne and Boris Johnson, who established the London Finance Commission report into devolution for London as Mayor.