Britain must rejoin single market, Sadiq Khan says as he slams Brexit

28 June 2022, 22:22 | Updated: 29 June 2022, 09:26

By Fiona Jones

Sadiq Khan tells LBC that Britain must rejoin the single market as he brands leaving the EU as "the biggest piece of self-inflicted harm ever done to a country."

His comments came after the Government won a Commons vote on a bill authorising a second reading of the Northern Ireland protocol.

The development means the fluidity between the Republic of Ireland's border, a single market member, and the UK's border, could be compromised.

The protocol will come under scrutiny in the coming weeks and Boris Johnson's goal to override parts of the Northern Ireland agreement, which details post-Brexit trade first set out in 2018, is ever closer.

Former Prime Minister Theresa May blasted the Northern Ireland protocol bill prior to the vote, condemning it as illegal and detrimental to Britain's global reputation.

Speaking to the Mayor during the annual State of London debate, LBC's James O'Brien asked: "Should the Labour Party at a national level be agitating for rejoining the single market?"

"I believe we should. Spot on," said Mr Khan, while adding he could not speak for the whole of the Labour Party.

He went on to brand leaving the European Union as the "biggest piece of self-inflicted harm ever done to a country."

Despite Mr Khan's conviction, Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer has dismissed a potential return to the single market, which includes a ruling out of EU free movement.

Read more: Sadiq Khan says next Met chief must 'get it' after force placed under special measures

Tory minister Tobias Ellwood recently came under fire for echoing Mr Khan's views, suggesting the UK should rejoin the EU single market to ease the cost-of-living crisis.

In the Government's bid to drop the protocol, which would firm up borders between Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland, they have claimed the move is legally justified to "safeguard an essential interest".

The European Commission has said it is not prepared to renegotiate the protocol and took legal action against the UK for attempting to alter the protocol.

More optimistically, the German ambassador to the UK Miguel Berger has told LBC the EU "thinks it's possible" to find a solution to the post-Brexit Northern Ireland trade issue after the summer.

Read more: Sadiq Khan says next Met chief must 'get it' after force placed under special measures