The mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, will today say that businesses have been consistently ignored by the prime minister and that their warnings over Brexit have ‘fallen on deaf ears time and time again.’
In a major speech to the British Chambers of Commerce Annual Conference, the mayor will accuse the government of failing to engage with businesses at a time when their interests should have been at the heart of the conversation about London and the UK’s future relationship with the European Union.
Khan will also say that the gmade an error of judgement in triggering Article 50 when it had no clear plan in place.
In addition, he will say that it was always likely the Brexit process would end in deadlock due to the Prime Minister’s red lines that ruled out ongoing membership of the Single Market and the Customs Union.
The mayor believes that it’s time to give the public the final say on Brexit so that London and the country can decide what course to take. He will once again call on the government to immediately withdraw Article 50 to guarantee that we avoid falling off the cliff edge and to provide the breathing space to decide how we resolve this crisis.
On businesses being marginalised throughout the Brexit process, the Mayor is expected to say, “What we really needed after the referendum was a proper national conversation about the type of Brexit the nation wanted.
“And you, the leaders of our business community should have been right at the centre of this conversation.
“Instead, you’ve been ignored. You’ve been marginalised. And you’ve had your warnings fall on deaf ears time and time again.
“As a result, you’ve had to suffer over two years of uncertainty, with the prospect of months, if not years, more.
“This uncertainty has already come at a cost. Businesses are being forced to put time, effort and money into preparing for a no-deal Brexit, rather than into creating new jobs and growth.”
On the triggering of Article 50 and the prime minister’s red lines, the mayor is expected to say, “Article 50 should never have been triggered until the government had a proper plan in place.
“Our national leaders should have had a clear idea of what they wanted to achieve before they started the clock ticking.
“You can’t simply unravel a complex political, economic and trading relationship that’s 50-years old, in only two.
“I knew it was possible for the prime minister to respect the outcome of the referendum whilst securing a Brexit deal that would, as much as possible protect our jobs, our economy and the rights of EU citizens, who contribute so much to powering London’s economy.
“We could have left the political institutions of the European Union while remaining in both the Single Market and the Customs Union.”
On the need for a public vote, the mayor is expected to tell business leaders, “Whatever happens in the House of Commons over the coming days, it’s absolutely crucial that we give the British public the final say, with remain on the ballot paper.
“I know what many of you want now, more than anything else is certainty.
“But a delay to give the public the final say would undoubtedly be worth it to unite our country, and to lead to a much better outcome for our economy and communities”