Sadiq Khan has reignited his war of words with Donald Trump after he mocked the US president's administration over its use of so called "alternative facts" at a gathering of London businesses on Wednesday evening (8 February).

"By the way, can my press team confirm that there are 100,000 people present here tonight?" the Mayor of London joked, a reference to Trump claiming that there were up to 1.5 million people at his inauguration when there were far fewer. The latest quip from Khan at Trump's expense comes after the Labour politicians condemned the Republican's 90-day travel ban.

The Mayor of London described the executive order, which barred people from travelling directly to America from seven Muslim-majority countries, as "shameful and cruel".

Khan also announced to the London Transport Museum audience that he would lead a delegation of some of the capital's companies to Berlin, Brussels, Paris, Madrid and Warsaw in late March.

The initiative is part of the mayor's international business programme and Khan's London is Open campaign.

"At a time of great uncertainty, with the spectre of Brexit negotiations looming large over our economy, I'm doing everything I can to protest the interests of London's businesses so that you can have continued success," he said.

"This means fighting your corner to ensure you're still able to attract the best talent from around the world and that you can retain access to the EU's single-market on favourable terms."

Khan's speech came just an hour before MPs voted 494 votes to 122 in favour of the Article 50 bill on its third reading in the House of Commons.

The draft legislation, which is needed to trigger Brexit negotiations, has now gone up to the House of Lords. The government is hoping the bill passes through parliament by 7 March, allowing Theresa May to start divorce talks with the EU on 9 March.

The MPs also rejected an amendment to force the government to guarantee the residency rights of the around three million EU nationals living in the UK.

Brussels-based think tank Bruegel has estimated that the City of London, Europe's financial capital, could lose 30,000 jobs because of the UK's split from the EU.

Sadiq Khan
Labour's Mayor of London Sadiq Khan REUTERS/Neil Hall