Mayor meets London university heads to discuss implications of Brexit

31 August 2016

The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, today met with leaders of London’s higher education institutions (HEIs) to discuss how the capital’s world-leading universities can continue to thrive following the vote to leave the EU, and to reassure them that London is more open than ever to top international talent.  

The meeting presented an opportunity for the Mayor and his team, including the statutory Deputy Mayor of London, Joanne McCartney AM, and his Deputy Mayor for Business, Rajesh Agrawal, to meet key leaders from across the sector, bringing them together to ensure that London’s top HEIs are able to continue to flourish and innovate, and that students from around the world still feel welcome here and regard London as a top place to study.

Sadiq reassured them that he recognised the contribution London’s HEIs make to the capital’s global reputation and competitiveness and that the quality of research and teaching was a major part of attracting the world’s most talented students. He said that he valued the diversity of HEIs in London, including the world-class arts and creative institutions, which play a core part in the capital’s innovation ecosystem and cultural life.

The Mayor also spoke about the opportunities open to London’s HEIs of the growing international student market, stating the importance of a supportive visa system which encourages international students to work in the UK post-graduation.

He pledged to push the Government to ensure that the concerns of HEIs are properly represented in the UK’s negotiations with the EU.

Sadiq Khan said: “London is the higher education capital of the world, with more leading universities, and international students than any other city and I want to make sure it stays that way. EU students, staff and research partnerships are a key part of this. In addition, people who come from abroad to study in London leave as ambassadors for our city, spreading the message across the globe that we are a fantastic place to live, work and visit. I’m saying loud and clear to the world that London is open as the best place to study, do business and innovate and a city where all Londoners can take advantage of these opportunities.

“I want all of our international students and academic staff to know that they are welcome in London – on that front, nothing has changed. I value the enormous contribution they make to our city, and that will not change as a result of the EU referendum. I’ll work with London’s higher education institutions to ensure their needs are properly understood and reflected as we negotiate the right settlement for our international students.”

Notes to editors

  • HEI attendees to this meeting included:
    •    Professor Edward Byrne – President and Principal, King’s College London
    •    Patrick Loughrey – Warden, Goldsmiths, University of London
    •    Professor Michael Arthur – President and Provost, University College London
    •    Professor Alice Gast – President and Principal, Imperial College London
    •    Professor Rebecca Lingwood – Vice-President, Queen Mary University London
    •    Professor Julia Black – Interim Director Designate and Pro-Director Of Research, LSE
    •    Baroness Valerie Amos – Director, SOAS
    •    Colin Lawson – Director, Royal College of Music
    •    Professor Geoff Petts – Vice Chancellor, University of Westminster and Chair, London Higher
    •    Nigel Carrington – Vice Chancellor, University of the Arts London
    •    Francis Campbell – Vice Chancellor, St Mary’s University, Twickenham   
  • Statutory Deputy Mayor, Joanne McCartney AM, has recently assumed responsibility for education and childcare.
  • The Mayor’s #LondonIsOpen campaign, launched on 18th July, aims to show the world that London remains entrepreneurial, international, and full of creativity and possibility, while reassuring the more than one million foreign nationals who live in London that they will always be welcome.