London's mayor Khan demands more autonomy for city


London - 29 Jun 2016

London’s mayor Sadiq Khan has demanded greater autonomy for the U.K. capital in the wake of the Brexit.

The city was alone with Scotland and Northern Ireland in opposing an exit from the European Union and many have expressed concerns that the Brexit could harm London’s economy.

Khan, who became Britain’s most senior Muslim politician when he was elected to his role last month, said he was not calling for the city to become a city-state.

“But on behalf of all Londoners, I am demanding more autonomy for the capital - right now,” he told a conference organized by The Times in London.

“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.”

He said the decision to leave the EU was not reversible but that Britain must remain within the European single market.

“I'm sure that I don't need to tell you why: 500 million customers, nearly half of all British exports, the pass porting of our financial services, the foundation of British jobs, wealth and prosperity,” Khan said.

“Remaining in the single market needs to be priority one, two and three of our negotiation with the EU. And what’s more – I am confident we can achieve this,” he added.

The London mayoralty, which was only established 16 years ago, holds a sweeping range of powers over housing, transport and the emergency services.

But it has very limited taxation powers and Khan argued the city needed to be able to spend more of what it raises.