The Government should postpone triggering Article 50 until next autumn, the Mayor of London has told to the British Media.
Sadiq Khan said that waiting until after French and German elections next year will give European negotiators latitude to achieve a deal with Britain that squares the circle of access to the single market without freedom of movement.
He said: “I lost the argument and now it’s for them to persuade the EU how we can get the best of both worlds, how it’s possible to have access to the single market and not have free movement of labour.
Maybe waiting for French and German elections to be out of the way gives the new French president or German chancellor more of a chance for latitude for some of the things that the British public say we need.
Mr Khan says that Brexit negotiators must be very very careful about triggering Article 50 prematurely.
If we serve notice too quick to quit there’s no guarantee jobs won’t leave.
I met the Mayor of Milan in London two weeks ago trying to pinch our work.
I know for a fact there are people from Paris, Berlin, Dublin courting business leaders as we speak.
At the moment, businesses aren’t leaving.
Sadiq Khan, Mayor of London, says Article 50 should be delayed “At the moment they have hope – they are being reassured by myself and others that we have a plan in relation to getting the best deal possible.
“Once we serve notice then the stopwatch starts, the countdown begins and it becomes more difficult rather than easier.
“That’s why it’s really important to serve notice, have a proper plan, and so far I’ve seen no evidence of a plan, I’ve seen slogans – effective referendum winning slogans but no future of a plan post-Brexit.”
Mr Khan also said that “we’ve got to have access to the single market”.
Theresa Villiers, the former Northern Ireland Secretary and Leave campaigner, said she would “start to be nervous” at a delay of the type Mr Khan suggested, saying a month or two after the indicated date of January would be acceptable.
Both the Secretary of State for Brexit and the PM have suggested the triggering of Article 50 will not happen before January.
Also talking to Sky News, Nigel Farage, Ukip’s outgoing leader warned that staying in the single market would represent a “betrayal” of Brexit.
“I don’t think the Leave campaign in all its different fractures could have been clearer – we were voting to leave the single market, the customs union that is at the very heart of this political project.
“Absolutely and completely (it would be a betrayal).
“We voted to leave the political union – that means we leave the single market and we take back control of our borders, it’s quite simple really.”