London needs ‘special deal’ to continue free movement

Sadiq Khan has issued a call for London to be considered separately from the UK in regards to EU immigration. Khan’s statement coincides with Michel Barnier’s call for clarity on Northern Ireland.

Her Majesty's Passport Office in London
London’s mayor has called for London to get special treatment in Brexit negotiations to allow the free movement of European workers into the capital to continue.

Khan concerned over loss of talent for London

Interviewed on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, Sadiq Khan said that if Britain’s departure from the EU went ahead, London would need a special deal on immigration so it could get “the lion’s share” of foreign talent.Mr Khan, a Labour Party member in favour of the UK remaining in the single market after Brexit, said, “I think London is different to the rest of the country. Why? Because we are the only region to vote to remain in the EU. Why? Because not only do we need immigration, but we want it.”As Brexit Secretary David Davis attended the latest round of Brexit talks in Brussels hoping to break the deadlock in negotiations, Sir Keir Starmer, the Labour’s shadow Brexit secretary, insisted his party’s approach was “grown-up and pragmatic” despite criticism that the leadership appeared to have no clear policy on continued membership of the single market and customs union.Sir Keir told the party’s conference in Brighton that Labour wanted to see a deal a deal “that retains the benefits of the customs union and the single market”.He said, “Options for achieving that end should not be swept off the table. Subject of course to negotiations, remaining in a form of customs union with the EU is a possible end destination for Labour. We are also flexible as to whether the benefits of the single market are best retained by negotiating a new single market relationship, or by working up from a bespoke trade deal.”
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His remarks came after Prime Minister Theresa May’s keynote speech in Florence last week in which she accepted there would have be a two-year transition period after Brexit during which EU nationals would be free to settle in the UK under a registration system while Britain and the EU would continue to enjoy the same access to each other’s markets.Mr Davis has confirmed the UK would pay in “roughly” £10 billion a year during the transition, but has played down claims that the final ‘divorce bill’ could be £40 billion once other liabilities were taken into account.

Clarity on the Ireland question

Michel Barnier, the chief EU negotiator, has welcomed the “constructive spirit” of Mrs May’s speech but has said Brussels needs greater clarity on many of the contentious issues, particularly how the problem on the border between the Irish Republic and Ulster is to be resolved.Mrs May attempted to do just that in a meeting in Downing Street on Monday with Leo Varadkar, the Irish taoiseach. The pair also discussed the stalemate that has resulted in a suspension of the power-sharing agreement at the assembly in Stormont.Ahead of the meeting, Mrs May said, “There are some key issues for us at the moment. I’m sure we’ll be discussing the issue of how we can ensure the devolved administration is restored in Northern Ireland.“And also, of course, the particular issues around Brexit. I think that with positive working together we will find a solution that delivers what we both want, which is no return to a hard border, no return to the borders of the past.”Mr Varadkar said Dublin wanted to make sure that the close relationship built up between the two countries in recent years would be maintained after Brexit, including the common travel area and free trade.
Read David Sapsted's article on Brexit: The great relocation battle – which discusses the tussle for European agencies relocating post-Brexit – in the Autumn 2017 issue of Relocate Magazine.
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