Sadiq Khan has warned MPs that leaving the European Union without a deal on future trade relations would mean “catastrophe” for Britain’s vital service sector.
Giving evidence to the House of Commons Exiting the EU Committee, the Mayor of London said that business leaders were telling him that they wanted the Government to negotiate an “interim deal” to cover the period between Brexit and the introduction of a new trade relationship between the UK and EU.
And he warned that without reassurance of this kind, banks and financial institutions could move staff or headquarters to centres outside the EU like New York, Hong Kong, Singapore or Dubai.
I have had conversations in private with some in the sector who are worried.
They have got plans for the possibility of a deal not being done in two years. Those with a presence in Europe say it takes between a year and 18 months to get up and go. Others without a presence in a European city, it would take two years.
The point I make to colleagues around Europe is – don’t assume hard Brexit benefits you, because if there is so-called hard Brexit, some of these banks and financial institutions won’t go to Paris, Madrid, Brussels, Frankfurt – love them as we do – but New York, Hong Kong, Singapore, Dubai. So a hard Brexit doesn’t benefit our European friends or London or the UK