Sadiq Khan slammed for disrespecting democracy with Brexit comments

Keir Starmer discusses Brexit and a second referendum

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London Mayor Sadiq Khan criticised the UK Government’s “denial” of the “immense damage” Brexit is causing the nation during a government dinner at Mansion House on Thursday, January 12. The Labour Mayor argued that Britain should move towards greater alignment with Europe, but his comments were met with widespread disagreement among Express.co.uk readers in a new poll.

Mr Khan told City leaders: “I simply can’t keep quiet about the immense damage Brexit is doing. Ministers seem to have developed selective amnesia when it comes to one of the root causes of our problems. Brexit can’t be airbrushed out of history or the consequences wished away.”

He added: “After two years of denial and avoidance, we must now confront the hard truth: Brexit isn’t working. It’s weakened our economy, fractured our union and diminished our reputation. But, crucially, not beyond repair.

“We need greater alignment with our European neighbours — a shift from this extreme, hard Brexit we have now to a workable version that serves our economy and people. That includes having a pragmatic debate about the benefits of being a part of the customs union and the single market.”

Former Brexit Party MEP Rupert Lowe slammed Mr Khan’s calls, telling Mark Dolan on GB News that the mayor was “on very dangerous ground”. He also warned against the UK being dragged back in line with the European Union.

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s official spokesman said in response to Mr Khan’s comments: “The British people set out their view back in 2016 and the Government is busy enacting.”

In a poll that ran from 10.30am on Friday, January 13, to midday on Monday, January 16, Express.co.uk asked readers: “Is Sadiq Khan right to call for closer ties to EU?”

Overall, 8,639 votes were cast with the vast majority of readers, 83 percent (7,136 people) answering “no” against closer ties.

Whereas 17 percent (1,462 people) said “yes” in support of Mr Khan’s calls and a further 41 people said they did not know either way.

Thousands of comments were left below the accompanying article as readers took part in a lively debate on the UK’s relationship with the bloc.

Many readers commented that Brexit needed to be retained, with several citing the 2016 referendum result in their arguments. Username JL77 said: “Absolutely No, respect democracy.”

Username Lellypoos wrote: “No he isn’t! We need to have nothing to do with the EU.”

Another, username paideubots said: “You can’t have closer ties with EU without becoming a vassal state. UK needs to stay away.”

And username figaro99 listed some actions the bloc tried to make against Brexit Britain, concluding: “No, we won’t be aligning ourselves with them thanks.”

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However, some readers were more accepting of Mr Khan’s comments, with username JLA writing: “Yes, but people need to understand that ‘closer ties with’ and ‘membership of’ are not the same.”

They added that the damage of Brexit is “the way the UK and EU leaders are administering agreements after having left”.

Similarly, username leafspot said: “Closer to Europe, yes. I’ve always considered Europe as the wider family. I don’t though, support the unelected governing body that is the EU and its many councils.”

Username countrygentleman agreed with Mr Khan, commenting: “The UK is the only major economy not to return to pre-Covid growth levels. Support for the EU is growing in the UK and Europe. Whatever you think about him, it seems to me that Khan might be on to something.”

Other readers thought that the Labour mayor should not be commenting on Brexit, with username Allthedays writing: “Foreign affairs is not part of Khan’s remit.”

And username durfel added: “His job is running London, not trying to be a politician.”

Foreign Secretary James Cleverly is due to meet European Commission Vice President Maros Sefcovic on Monday to discuss proposals for post-Brexit trade arrangements affecting Northern Ireland.

The UK Government set a deadline of January 19 for Northern Ireland to form a power-sharing executive but this is likely to be postponed for an additional three months.

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