'Waste of time!' Sadiq Khan's Brexit-bashing investigation faces Tory boycott as London Mayor accused of 'ignoring real problems'

'Waste of time!' Sadiq Khan's Brexit-bashing investigation faces Tory boycott as London Mayor accused of 'ignoring real problems'

Sadiq Khan has been blasted for ‘caving in’ to RMT

Jack Walters

By Jack Walters

Published: 11/01/2024

- 11:35

Updated: 11/01/2024

- 11:40

Sadiq Khan is hoping the UK pursues closer ties with the Brussels bloc

City Hall Conservatives have decided to boycott Sadiq Khan’s Brexit investigation after labelling the probe a “waste of time”.

The London Mayor will also likely clash with Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer tonight after using a speech to warn leaving the EU is a “key contributor to the cost of living crisis”.

He will also demand Britain forges a closer political relationship with the Brussels bloc and accepts more immigration.

Khan commissioned a report suggesting Brexit has cost the UK economy £140billion, leaving the average Londoner nearly £3,400 worse off.

Sadiq Khan (left) and insets of a pro-Remain protester and the City of London

Khan will demand Britain forges a closer political relationship with the Brussels bloc and accepts more immigration


In his Mansion House speech, Khan is expected to say: “The hardline version of Brexit we've ended up with is dragging our economy down and pushing up the cost of living.

“It's making food more expensive, adding to the acute pressures on households and having an ongoing detrimental impact on industries that are crucial to our success – such as hospitality, construction and financial services.”

Khan, who went up against Boris Johnson in the 2016 Brexit debate at Wembley, will deliver his speech just hours after the London Assembly Economy Committee will meet to discuss the impact of Brexit on the capital’s finances.

The committee will have a particular focus on free movement, trade and financial services.

However, Tory Assembly Members have decided not to show up to the committee, claiming it shows the London Mayor is not looking forward.

Neil Garratt AM, City Hall Conservatives Leader, told GB News: “The Economy Committee’s investigation into Brexit symbolises everything that is wrong with Sadiq Khan and Labour in London.

Anti-Brexit campaigners wave Union and European Union flags outside the Houses of ParliamentBrexit has become a divisive topic in BritainPA

“On a week when the trade unions threatened to bring London’s economy to its knees with Tube strikes and the 1,000th murder since Sadiq Khan became Mayor, Labour chooses to re-visit Brexit.

“This is typical Sadiq Khan and typical Labour. They won’t focus on the issues that matter to Londoners. Labour in City Hall are spending time on national foreign policy they don't control, while ignoring the real problems in London that are the Mayor's actual job: crime, transport, housing.

“City Hall Conservatives won’t attend this Committee investigation. It makes no sense to revisit Brexit. We need to look forward not back.

”We think this is a waste of time and a distraction. Mayor Khan started this week encouraging unions to threaten Londoners with even more strikes, what is he doing about that?"

A number of other commentators have also blasted Khan over his decision to lambast Brexit.

GB News' Nigel Farage, who previously led Ukip and the Brexit Party, said: “More than 1,000 murders have taken place in London in the 2,773 days since Sadiq Khan was first elected. Perhaps he should focus more on that and less about Brexit."

Reform UK’s London Mayor candidate Howard Cox added: “The London Mayor should butt out of national and international politics and focus on cutting knife crime, housing young people in affordable homes and to stop fleecing drivers.

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer (left) and Mayor of London Sadiq Khan (right)

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer and Mayor of London Sadiq Khan


“With his purely cash grabbing Ulez scheme, he has reduced the capital's GDP by nearly £1billion per year. So his comments about leaving the EU are not only hypocritical but ill-informed.”

Economist Julian Jessop, who described Khan’s attack as “fatally flawed”, also said: “These models find a group of economies that performed similarly to the UK before Brexit and then attribute any divergence afterwards to Brexit.

“This wrongly assumes that the UK would have been impacted equally by other shocks (notably Covid and the energy crisis), and ignores other national factors (such as the huge fiscal stimulus in the US).

“Even if you accept the 'doppelganger' approach, these results fail a basic 'sniff test'. The model-based claim that the UK economy is already 6% (or £140billion) smaller as a result of Brexit is very hard to square with the actual data.”

But City Hall’s independent report by Cambridge Econometrics showed London has 290,000 fewer jobs than if Brexit had not taken place.

Half of the two million job losses nationwide linked to it are in the financial services and construction sectors.

Shyamoli Patel, principal economist at Cambridge Econometrics, said: “Our study reveals that London's economy would have grown faster if Brexit hadn't taken place.

The view of the London skyline from Windows Bar in central London

London is at the heart of the Brexit debate


“Looking ahead, we project that Brexit will continue to have an impact on the UK and London economies in the medium term.”

City Hall Conservatives attacked the London Mayor for his decision to revisit Brexit just 112 days before voters across the capital head to the polls.

Khan, who is hoping for a third term, is streaking ahead of Conservative challenger Susan Hall in the opinion polls.

Brexit has continued to polarise the electorate ever since the referendum was called in 2016, with the Leader of the Opposition looking to bury the debate ahead of the general election.

Starmer, who campaigned for Remain and pushed for a second referendum on EU membership, previously ruled out rejoining the customs union and single market.

Londoners were split on the Brexit debate, with a number of outer boroughs voting to leave the EU.

The division is perhaps best summarised by the difference between the 70 per cent Brexit-backing borough of Havering and 79 per cent Remain-supporting borough of Lambeth.

However, unlike the majority of UK voters, the capital ultimately decided it would rather stay in the bloc by 60 per cent to 40 per cent.

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