Dismore questions Mayor over Brexit options

At today’s Mayor’s Question Time, Andrew Dismore AM, Labour London Assembly Member for Barnet and Camden questioned the Mayor Sadiq Khan over the narrowing options facing London over Brexit.


Mr Dismore asked:

‘Given where we are on Brexit, what do you consider the implications are for the London economy and for Londoners?

‘Would you agree the problem actually is that,  three years after the referendum, it’s still the case that no-one knows where we are going to end up, leaving Londoners and London businesses in no place to prepare for what may or may not be coming, with or without an extension which may or may not be granted; and in any event Mrs May’s rejected deal completely ignores the 80% of  our exports, those in services, not mentioned in it? We are still at risk of a no deal crash out, aren’t we, despite the Parliamentary vote?

‘With potentially only a week to go, due to the stubborn incompetence of the Prime Minister  who is clearly far more concerned about the future of the Conservative Party than of the country as she refuses to engage constructively with other parties and slags off MPs instead, even though  the Speaker correctly says she can’t bring back her failed plan for a third time, isn’t it time to explore support  for other options for a softer Brexit , as proposed by Labour; or better still to go back to the country  in  a People’s Vote,  a second referendum to break the impasse?

‘We’ve seen the likes of Jacob Rees Mogg with his Conservative ERG cronies, former Mayor Boris Johnson, who should know better but for his personal overweening ambition, the DUP- and no doubt the UKIP /BAGGIES speaking next-  argue that World Trade Organisation (WTO) rules are the panacea that will allow free trade. However, they are being disingenuous, aren’t they? Whilst we could implement zero tariffs on imports, it does not mean that other countries must do the same. So our exported goods will be more expensive overseas and businesses will go bust; and as WTO Article 24 only covers goods not services, the restrictions 80% of our exports face are completely unknown. What does Article 24 of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) rules, in the event of a no-deal Brexit, mean for London’s economy, which is so heavily service based?’

The Mayor said that:

MPs rejected Mrs May’s bad Brexit deal twice and she wants them to vote for a third time, but won’t give the public a say through a People’s Vote. The Government is totally uncoordinated on no-deal planning and they aren’t preparing 3 million EU citizens for a massive change in status. That’s why he’s set up the EU Londoners hub, to give expert help and advice.

We are now at the greatest risk of leaving without a deal, which would be catastrophic for businesses, the NHS, construction and how Londoners feel about their future. The Prime Minister, who can’t get parliamentary support, stood outside Downing Street hectoring MPs, almost calling them enemies of the people by implication. It’s extraordinary.

We are sleepwalking to no-deal, and the Prime Minister should stop the clock, revoke article 50, negotiate a better deal, then re-serve article 50. Or, she can extend it to give enough time for a People’s Vote, given the deadlock in Parliament. But she is scared to give the public a final say.

The GLA’s statutory responsibilities include the state of London’s economy, and this is now the biggest issue facing London since the creation of the GLA back in 2000.

WTO rules do not address non-tariff barriers, 90% of London’s economy is service based, and Mrs May’s deal does nothing to address this. Why would the EU agree zero-tariff trade with us? They would have to do this for everyone, and likewise if we agreed zero-tariff trade with the EU we would have to do so with everyone else.

After MQT Mr Dismore added:

‘I welcome the Mayor’s comments. It is no surprise that the online petition calling to revoke Article 50 crashed earlier today under the weight of signatures. I am sure the protest on Saturday will attract huge support and I urge everyone who is concerned about Brexit to make their voices heard.’