Responding to news that the UK has voted to leave the European Union Ben Rogers, Director of Centre for London said:
“This is not the result that London wanted, and raises many questions about maintaining London’s economic success and tackling our problems.
“London is the economic capital of the EU, and an important capital of culture, higher education, research and civil society. As Centre for London’s recent report Continental Capital shows, London has the highest proportion of EU workers and students of any region – indeed, one third of all EU residents of the UK live in the capital.
“However, despite these close connections with the rest of the EU, London is in many respects relatively well positioned to get through Brexit. The capital has increasingly strong economic relations with the world beyond the EU – more so than other UK nations and regions that supported Brexit but could prove less resilient to it.
“For some time London seems to have been diverging politically from the rest of the England – Labour’s vote held up well in London in the 2015 election, even as it fell elsewhere. Yesterday London voted 60 to 40 to remain in the UK, compared to 47 to 53 for England as a whole. Indeed London showed itself to be the most pro-remain region in England.
“London’s distinctiveness from the rest of the country is likely to assume growing significance over coming years. The referendum result is likely to foster a stronger sense of distinct identity and interest in the capital and we can expect to see growing support for moves to give London more power to govern itself. Many Remain supporters worried that a Leave vote would put strain on the Union with Scotland and unsettle peace in Ireland. But relations between London and the UK government could also prove fractious.
“As we enter what is likely to be a long period of uncertainty for London’s employers, universities, housing sector and economy, what is clear is that the Mayor of London’s role as ambassador for the capital has never been more vital.
“Sadiq must now use his mayoralty to win more power for London, and crucially to continue to promote the capital as a hub for workers, students and investors from the EU and around the world”.