Mayor calls for Article 50 to be withdrawn to avoid no-deal Brexit

06 December 2018

• Sadiq says Government must take no-deal option ‘off the table’ immediately

• Withdrawing Article 50 would ‘stop the clock’ and allow for public vote on Brexit

• Mayor in Dublin today for series of high-level meetings

• Sadiq will highlight special and enduring relationship between London and Dublin

The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, will today call on the Government to withdraw Article 50, declaring that it is the best way to protect London and ensure the United Kingdom does not crash out of the European Union with no deal.

In a keynote speech to business leaders in Dublin, Sadiq will insist that a no-deal scenario would be the worst possible outcome for London and that the Government must take this increasingly likely outcome off the table. Withdrawing Article 50 would allow Britain to stop the clock ticking towards a no-deal Brexit while the uncertainty caused by the Government’s actions can be sorted out.

With the Prime Minister’s Brexit deal facing likely defeat in the House of Commons next week, withdrawing Article 50 would allow time for a General Election or a public vote to be held so the country can decide what course it wants to take and avoid the risk of a no-deal Brexit. Earlier this week, the Advocate General at the European Court of Justice confirmed that it is possible for the UK to withdraw Article 50 if it wishes.*

The Mayor is in Dublin today as part of his wider drive to protect the capital’s economy from the effects of Brexit and reiterate his message that ‘London Is Open’ to business, investment, talent, tourists and ideas.

The visit follows his trips in the last two months to Brussels, where he held talks with Michel Barnier, the EU’s chief Brexit negotiator, and to Paris and Berlin.

He will call for Article 50 to be withdrawn in his speech at Dublin Chamber of Commerce’s Annual Lunch. During his visit, he is also scheduled to meet the Taoiseach, Leo Varadkar, President Michael D Higgins and the Minister of State for European Affairs,Helen McEntee.

Sadiq has long argued that ‘no deal’ would be hugely damaging, leading to fewer jobs and reduced investment in London and the whole country. He now believes that this scenario is looking more likely by the day, with Parliament extremely likely to vote down the Prime Minister’s deal next week.

The Mayor will also highlight the special relationship that exists between London and Dublin and stress that whatever the outcome of Brexit that friendship will always exist.

- On withdrawing Article 50, Sadiq is expected to say:

“The worst possible outcome – which remains a grave concern given the political uncertainty in Westminster - is that the UK leaves the EU with no Brexit deal at all.

“This would not only be devastating for London’s economy, but would actually hurt businesses and economies across Europe – including here in Dublin – and increase the chance of a hard border on the island of Ireland.

“In my view, the prospect – the very notion – of a no-deal Brexit must be taken off the table by the British Government.

“It’s just too dangerous to leave as a possibility.

“That’s why – today – I’m calling on Theresa May to withdraw Article 50 if the British Parliament rejects her deal next week, which is looking extremely likely.

“This move would be the single best way to guarantee that we avoid falling off the cliff edge.

“It would stop the clock that is ticking down towards a no-deal Brexit, and it would provide the breathing space to decide how we resolve this mess.

“If the British Prime Minister refuses to take this precautionary step – we would continue heading towards a no-deal Brexit in just a few months’ time – and would risk us having to explain to future generations why the Government of the day knowingly put our economy, our prosperity and our place on the world stage in such grave peril.”

- On London’s special relationship with Dublin, Sadiq is expected to say:

“There’s no doubt that London just wouldn’t be the city it is today without the contribution of the Irish community.

“They’ve helped us to build our great business and economic links, which are flourishing more than ever.

“But there are a few things I can promise that - despite Brexit - will never change:

“One is the special relationship that exists between our two cities. I’m determined that this remains as strong as ever.

“And two – that London will still be one of the most entrepreneurial, innovative and outward-looking business centres in the world.

“This is what my “London is Open” campaign is all about.

“It’s about saying loud and clear to Dublin and to cities and businesses across the globe that - no matter what happens – London is, and will remain, open to business.

“Open to new investment with the businesses you represent.

“And open to Dubliners and the Irish people.”

The Mayor is in Dublin today for the latest in a series of visits to European cities to make the case that despite Brexit, London remains open to the world: open to business, open to ideas, open to investment, open to trade and open to talent.

Last month, he visited Berlin and Paris where he met leading businesses and senior politicians, as part of his work to protect key trade, business and cultural ties between London and other leading European capitals.

He met senior European Union officials, including Michel Barnier, in Brussels in October.

Notes to editors

The Advocate General’s decision is available at

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