‘It’s ESSENTIAL’ London to seek SEPARATE Brexit deal with EU, warns Mayor


Mayor Sadiq Khan said the city would seek a deal to enable firms to continue recruiting staff from the bloc long after exit negotiations have been completed.

He accused ministers of refusing to listen to the concerns of the capital – but failed to see the irony as he pushed ahead with the anti-Brexit plans despite it being the will of 52 per cent of the population.

In a speech to the Institute of Directors, Mr Khan announced he would hold a summit in the new year to consider proposals from business groups regarding retaining access to a European workforce.

He claimed he was pressing the Government to adopt a negotiating stance which will satisfy the demand for highly skilled workers.

And he complained his monthly meetings with ministers have given him the impression that “it doesn”t look like they are listening”.

The mayor said: “London”s businesses must retain access to the skilled workforce they need in order to grow.

“It’s absolutely essential to protecting jobs, growth and tax revenues across Britain over the next decade.

“If the government ignores the needs of business and pushes ahead with a new system that cuts off access to skilled workers, then we will have no choice but to look at a London-specific solution.”

Mr Khan added the City of London Corporation and London Chamber of Commerce had already done “some crucial early think” about their options.

But he said: “We need to go further and fester to make the case to the government and develop a new system.”

Statistics show around 616,000 Europeans currently work in London – making up 12.5 per cent of the capital’s workforce.

Of these, 88,000 work in the construction industry, 49,000 in finances and insurance and a further 58,000 in professional, scientific and technical fields.

A spokesperson for the Department for Exiting the European Union said: “We”re determined to get the best possible deal for the UK and are preparing for a smooth and orderly exit from the EU.

“There is no benefit to Britain by providing a running commentary on every twist and turn of these negotiations.

“However, it must be a priority to regain control over the number of people coming to the UK from Europe while getting the right deal for trade in goods and services.”

Mr Khan’s comments come as it was revealed foreign secretary Boris Johnson allegedly supports keeping freedom of movement post-Brexit.

It was claimed he told a string of ambassadors he supported the open borders deal, with one saying: “He did say he was personally in favour of free movement, as it corresponds to his own beliefs. 

“But he said it wasn’t government policy.”

However, Boris Johnson angrily denied the claims last night, challenging the diplomats to produce proof.

While Jeroen Dijsselbloem, the president of the eurogroup of eurozone finance ministers, warned the rest of the European Union must take a “firm stand” against Britain after Brexit negotiations are completed.

And he singled out London – the epitome of market-driven economics – especially, warning the City must accept Brussels red tape even after Brexit.

The Square Mile was issued with a stark Euro-ultimatum – after European Union bosses warned the capital must accept strict regulations or else lose its role as Europe’s top financial hub.