Remain supporters must stop "wallowing in self-pity" and accept the UK's decision to split from the EU, Sadiq Khan has said today (14 November 2016). The Labour Mayor of London also defended Brexit voters following a campaign that focused heavily on immigration.
"Don't call people racist because they decided to vote for an alternative, radical path," he told Politico magazine. "Try to understand the concerns they've got and try to address them."
Khan added: "You've got two choices: you can either sulk about it and cross your arms and will it to fail so you can say 'I told you so'. That benefits nobody. Or you can try to make a fist of it and make it a success."
But the former human-rights lawyer warned that big business and banks could move from London to New York, Tokyo and Singapore if Theresa May delivers a so-called "hard Brexit", which would limit the UK's access to the EU's single market.
"The reality is that if businesses leave London they are going to New York, they are going to Tokyo, they are going to Singapore," Khan said. "Hard Brexit doesn't benefit London. It doesn't benefit the UK. And it doesn't benefit Europe either."
The comments come after Shadow Brexit Secretary Sir Keir Starmer revealed that Labour wants the UK to stay in the EU's customs union. Such a position would see Britain adopting a similar relationship to that of Turkey and Brussels.
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has promised not to block a parliamentary vote on Article 50, the official mechanism to split from the EU.
MPs are expected to have a say on the issue after the government lost a major case at England's High Court. May's administration are contesting the result at the Supreme Court, with a ruling set for January 2017.
But despite Corbyn's assurances, several Labour MPs, such as David Lammy, are reportedly planning to block a Brexit by voting Article 50 down. May had promised to start negotiations with the EU by March 2017.