- Mayor of London Sadiq Khan will tell business and world leaders in a speech that Britain’s access to the Single Market should be the top priority for negotiations with the EU.
- He will warn that a “hard-line approach to Brexit” could “rip Britain apart.”
- His final warning will be that if world leaders held an EU referendum tomorrow, “it could go the same way” as Britain’s.
DAVOS, SWITZERLAND — The Mayor of London is to tell the bosses of the largest companies in the world and politicians that the prime minister of Britain’s plan for a “hard Brexit really would be a lose-lose situation.”
A “hard Brexit” is where Britain would leave the European Union without access to the Single Market but would then have full control over immigration into the country.
Khan will say, according to excerpts in his speech sent to Business Insider, that privileged access to the Single Market is “critical for London — nothing else will do.”
“A ‘hard Brexit’ would cut Europe off from its only truly global financial center. This would be bad news for Europe as well as Britain. So a hard Brexit really would be a lose-lose situation,” he will say to an audience in Davos.
Tell your political leaders that a ‘hard Brexit’ deal is not in the best interests of your company.
“Tell your political leaders that a ‘hard Brexit’ deal is not in the best interests of your company. This won’t be easy. But I’m confident that despite the Prime Minister’s rhetoric, there is still a sensible deal to be done.”
Khan’s team said in a statement that Khan has confirmed meetings with a range of CEOs and world leaders, including the Prime Minister of Sweden, Stefan Lofven, the Prime Minister of Norway, Erna Solberg, and the CEO of Siemens.
On Tuesday, Prime Minister Theresa May confirmed that Britain plans to leave the Single Market as part of its withdrawal from the EU. She also said she would terminate Britain’s membership of the free-trade area to have full control over immigration from the European Union.
This was confirmed by Chancellor Philip Hammond, who told the House of Commons on Tuesday morning that Britain would no longer be in the European single market once the Brexit deal is finalised. “We will go forward understanding we cannot be members of the single market,” he said on Tuesday.
Why the Single Market is Britain’s “top priority”
Khan will say in his speech that “securing privileged access to the Single Market must be the top priority for the negotiations. It’s critical for London. Nothing else will do. It can’t be brushed aside — as it was yesterday.”
If the passport is taken away, then London could cease to be the most important financial centre in Europe, costing the UK thousands of jobs and billions in revenues. Around 5,500 firms registered in the UK rely on the European Union’s passporting rights for the financial services sector, and they turn over about £9 billion in revenue.
“A hard-line approach to Brexit may hold the Conservative Party together, but it could rip Britain apart. And if we continue on this path – towards a ‘hard Brexit’ — we risk having to explain to future generations why we knowingly put their economy, their prosperity and their place on the world stage in such peril,” he will add.
May in her speech on Tuesday added that she sought to assure her European counterparts that Britain would remain a “best friend” to the continent but added that she would not seek a deal that leaves the country “half-in, half out” of the EU.
My warning is this: if many of your countries held an EU referendum tomorrow, it could go the same way as ours.
Khan will say at Davos that “many people who voted to leave the EU did so because of unease about the change they have experienced in recent decades.”
“This economic and social divide is not unique to Britain. We see it in the growing strength of populism. And without a concerted response it will spread further. My warning is this: if many of your countries held an EU referendum tomorrow, it could go the same way as ours. This is an existential threat to the EU — that we must combat together.
“One of the most crucial tasks for us now is to take pro-active steps to build stronger and more integrated communities. And to ensure that everyone benefits from our globalized economy. The alternative is division, protectionism and isolationism.”
Khan’s team believe his success, or otherwise, in handling Brexit will be the decisive factor in whether he is re-elected in 2020. One source close to the mayor told Business Insider’s Adam Bienkov that “the only issue that matters is Brexit. That is what will define him.”