The Europe Report (Supplementary) [1]

Session date: 
September 17, 2014
Question By: 
James Cleverly
Organisation: 
GLA Conservatives
Asked Of: 
The Mayor

Question

Mr Mayor, would you agree with me that one of the dangers of fetishising our relationship with  Europe is that it blinds us to the opportunities of economic relationships with the rest of the world?  My mother was from Sierra Leone and I have family from West Africa who are shocked at Britain’s unwillingness to engage with Africa as an economically growing continent.  We made that mistake to a large extent with India, we are making that mistake with China and we are making that mistake with Latin America.  I would urge you to ignore the pronouncements from the party who are claiming that we do not need any greater international connectivity, and in doing so run the risk of condemning London to drift, as in the 1970s towards being a second, perhaps even third-tier world economic --

Supplementary To: 

Answer

Answer for The Europe Report (Supplementary) [1]

Answer for The Europe Report (Supplementary) [1]

Answered By: 
The Mayor

Boris Johnson (Mayor of London):  I concur completely.  They are totally incoherent, as usual.  I do not worry about what the Liberal Democrats say, but yes, you are totally right.  We should be thinking globally.  That does not mean you should not also be seeking to expand our presence in Europe.  We have the biggest technological sector anywhere in Europe now.  We are the second biggest motor manufacturer or might be the second-biggest motor manufacturer in countries within the EU.  Incredible changes are happening to the UK economy.  We have massive opportunities opening up within the EU.  What we need to work out is whether we could do a deal with them that effectively is a kind of European Free Trade Association (EFTA) arrangement, and then strike other deals around the world.  I agree with you completely on what you say about Sierra Leone. 

In the small amount of international travelling I have done as your man - heavily restricted - I have been amazed by exactly that.  Everywhere you go, you meet people and you meet governments who say, “What happened to you guys?  You used to be here, you used to run this place.  We look to you.  Our relationship with you is of fantastic importance and interest”.  What a lot of them say is that particularly under the Brown administration, they lost touch.  I am just telling you what I have been hearing, that there was nobody from the UK who really showed an interest in them.  We need to think global and to look at the development of markets in the Far East, in Latin America and - absolutely right - in Africa. 

James Cleverly AM:  Thank you very much. 

Boris Johnson (Mayor of London):  We have huge, huge residual relationships there.