Brexit: Sadiq Khan London Mayor Talk About Brexit 2016
Sadiq Khan adds to mayoral team as London braces for Brexit damage:
London’s new mayor has made two major new appointments as the capital faces a suddenly uncertain future
This was not in the script. It isn’t yet two months since Labour’s Sadiq Khan emphatically won a hard fight to become London mayor against Eurosceptic Tory Zac Goldsmith and his dubious campaign tactics, but how long ago that triumph seems. Khan has begun working towards his goals of easing the capital’s high living costs and widening opportunities for sharing in its successes, but Brexit has been rather more than just a rude interruption of his schedule.
London, emphatically pro-remain, must now limit the damage threatened by the victory of leave, and not just for the sake of the capital. The new City Hall administration, still settling in, has spent much of the past week absorbing grave assessments of the future from some of the most powerful business leaders in the land. Uncertainty is everywhere. In workplaces and on the streets there is a new mood of unease.
Mayor Khan has moved to settle nerves, striking an upbeat note where possible, making the case for staying in the EU single market and pressing national government to devolve further powers to London government – over housing, property taxes, skills and education and more – as a matter of urgency, in the national interest. He argues that a more autonomous London would be a more resilient one, and he is right. “When London succeeds, the rest of the country succeeds,” he’s said. For as long as the capital generates 23% of UK economic output and taxes raised here subsidise the rest of the country, he is right about that too.
Khan has named entrepreneur Rajesh Agrawal as his deputy for business and enterprise. Agrawal, a Labour party member who advised Khan on business issues during the election battle, came to London from India with nothing 15 years ago and is now a fintech multi-millionaire. He says that London’s “openness to talent and enterprise must not change as a result of the referendum”, but his first priority may have to be trying to prevent talent and enterprise already here from moving out. Amid estimates that that up to 40,000 financial services jobs could migrate to Paris, Dublin and Frankfurt, Agrawal will support Khan in his mission to ensure that UK banks maintain their “passporting” rights, the system that enables them to operate across the European single market area.
The mayor’s other big new appointment, announced on Thursday morning, is Hackney mayor Jules Pipe as his deputy for planning, regeneration and skills. This is a big catch for Khan. Only a few weeks ago Pipe, one of the few human beings who can navigate the labyrinth of local government finance without the help of Satnav and a sack of paracetamol, did not consider himself to be in the running for a City Hall job, having told Khan’s team a while back that he’d be uncomfortable putting Hackney through the borough mayoral by-election that will now ensue (Khan has already relieved Hackney of Pipe’s deputy Sophie Linden, now his deputy for policing and crime). Pipe also backed Tessa Jowell to be Labour’s mayoral candidate last year, believing her better placed than Khan to defeat Goldsmith.
Mr Khan was speaking after a number of incidents were reported in London and around the country over the weekend.
Poland’s Ambassador to the UK, Witold Sobków, spoke of his shock at “xenophobic abuse” experienced by the Polish community.
Mr Khan said: “I take seriously my responsibility to defend London’s fantastic mix of diversity and tolerance.
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