Mayor Sadiq de­mand­ing more au­ton­omy for London

Pakistan Observer - - INTERNATIONAL -

LONDON—London mayor Sadiq Khan on Tues­day called for the city to be given more au­ton­omy to al­low it to ride out the eco­nomic un­cer­tainty un­leashed by Bri­tain’s vote to leave the Euro­pean Union.

While Bri­ton voted 52 to 48 per cent to leave the bloc last week, London was the only re­gion in Eng­land to back re­main­ing. Since then, more than 175,000 peo­ple have signed an on­line pe­ti­tion call­ing for London to be­come an in­de­pen­dent city state.

“On be­half of all Lon­don­ers, I am de­mand­ing more au­ton­omy for the cap­i­tal — right now,” he said ac­cord­ing to the text of a speech supplied by his of­fice.

“As much as I might like the idea of a London city state, I’m not se­ri­ously talk­ing about in­de­pen­dence to­day. I am not plan­ning to in­stall bor­der points on the M25,” Khan said, re­fer­ring to London’s or­bital mo­tor­way.

Khan, who cam­paigned for Bri­tain to stay in the EU, is seek­ing de­vo­lu­tion of tax rais­ing pow­ers, as well as more con­trol over ar­eas in­clud­ing busi­ness, trans­port, hous­ing and plan­ning, health and polic­ing, his of­fice said.

“More au­ton­omy in or­der to pro­tect London’s econ­omy from the un­cer­tainty ahead. More au­ton­omy to pro­tect the busi­nesses from around the world who trade here, and more au­ton­omy to pro­tect our jobs, wealth and pros­per­ity.”

The mayor said London, a global fi­nan­cial cen­tre, must also have a seat in the ne­go­ti­a­tions with the EU over Bri­tain’s fu­ture re­la­tion­ship with the bloc.

London, which of­fers by far the deep­est pool of cap­i­tal in the time zone be­tween Asia and the United States, ac­counts for 41pc of global for­eign ex­change turnover, more than dou­ble the near­est com­peti­tor, New York.—Reuters

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