Brussels: London Mayor Sadiq Khan warned EU negotiator Michel Barnier on Friday that a bad Brexit deal would see jobs flee Britain to the US and Asia rather than to Europe.
“I made the point that a bad Brexit deal or even worse, no deal whatsoever, is bad for London, is bad for our country but is bad for the EU as well,” Khan told Barnier after meeting Barnier in Brussels.
“He gets that,” he said, adding he spoke to him “in a courteous, polite and unpatronising way.”
Khan said he wanted to present views Barnier might not hear from British Prime Minister Theresa May’s team which he said no longer has a viable plan just months before Brexit on March 29.
“My concern is for those people in Paris, or Frankfurt or Madrid, who believe a bad brexit deal or no deal benefits them are mistaken,” the mayor said.
“Because the jobs won’t flow to those cities. They will flow to New York, Singapore and Hong Kong,” he added.
After Britain voted to leave the EU in a June 2016 referendum, London experts feared they would lose hundreds of thousands of financial services jobs, but now expect the figure to be a few thousand.
The British capital continues to vie with New York for the status of the world’s financial top dog, coming ahead of the Asian centres of Hong Kong, Singapore, Shanghai and Tokyo in a ranking by Z/Yen, a commercial consultancy and think tank.
But Christopher Hayward, chairman of the City of London’s urban planning committee, told AFP this month that the post-Brexit challenge will not come from European centres but from cities like New York and Singapore.
Khan’s office said that almost 70 percent of Londoners worried about the impact of skilled workers leaving the capital after Brexit.
It added almost half of Londoners are worried about the impact of many of the estimated one million or so EU nationals leaving London.
Khan also said he told Barnier he believes the British people should have a say on the outcome of the Brexit negotiations, “with the option of staying in the EU.”
He recalled that hundreds of thousands of people from all over Britain marched in London last week to make that point.
May has ruled out a second referendum. The majority of Londoners voted to remain during the first vote.