EU Referendum

Mayor Sadiq Khan: Boris Johnson 'used to understand London'

Sadiq Khan and Boris Johnson Image copyright Getty/Reuters
Image caption The two mayors argued on opposite sides of Thursday's referendum

London's mayor Sadiq Khan has criticised his predecessor on his commitment to the city following the UK vote to leave the European Union.

Mr Khan said Boris Johnson, a leader of the Leave campaign, "used to understand the importance of the EU to London".

The capital bucked the national trend as 60% of Londoners and 28 out of 33 boroughs, voted to remain in the EU.

But Mr Johnson claimed the UK had not "turned its back on Europe" and could now make laws to suit the economy.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption A majority of Londoners voted to stay in the EU in Thursday's referendum

Meanwhile, more than 137,000 people have signed an online petition calling for London to seek to independently join the EU.

The change.org petition calls for the capital to be declared "a world city" which should "remain at the heart of Europe", and has gathered momentum since the result of the EU referendum became clear on Friday morning.

Scotland also overwhelmingly voted to remain in the EU and First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has said she will seek "immediate discussions" with Brussels to "protect Scotland's place in the EU" after UK's vote to leave.

'Huge benefits'

Mr Khan said he will ask the government to give London additional powers and ensure the city is represented when a deal to exit the EU is struck.

Talking about how London departed from the rest country the mayor said: "We have decided to leave European Union as a country but I see the huge benefits of having access to a single market brings to our city.

"So what I have been saying to the government is that London needs to be around the negotiating table when it comes to getting a deal from the European Union.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption The Remain campaign had less success in the rest of England and Wales

"The case now for more powers is stronger than ever; you should be giving us more powers but also making sure that we are around the table when negotiating the deal with the EU."

Since the referendum, Mr Khan said he had been meeting businesses and investors and having talks with the Treasury to secure London's position in the global market.

Mr Khan also took aim at his predecessor, who is thought to be the front-runner to be the next Prime Minister after David Cameron announced his imminent resignation, and was the one of the leaders of the Brexit campaign.

"Boris Johnson used to understand the importance of the EU to London. He used to understand why it is crucial for jobs, for trade, for investment; not just economically, but socially, culturally and to do with our security as well.

"I'm sorry he seems to have forgotten that over the last couple of months.

"I'm hoping he will remember that when it comes to what we need from the European Union."

Following the Leave victory, Mr Johnson said separating from the EU could be good for the UK economy.

He said: "We can find our voice in the world again, a voice that is commensurate with the fifth-biggest economy on Earth.

"I believe we now have a glorious opportunity: we can pass our laws and set our taxes entirely according to the needs of the UK economy."

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