Press Release

Open letter to Rt Hon David Davis MP: Keeping London Open Post-Brexit


Brexit negotiations are often presented as a trade-off between access to European markets, and restrictions to freedom of movement. For London, this is a false and damaging choice.

The capital accounts for around 50 per cent of UK service exports, and its success depends on European markets and workers – more than 12 per cent of London’s workers are from other EU countries. Losing access to talent from across the EU would not only drain London’s businesses and its universities, but could also impair London’s character – as an open and welcoming city.

Government must commit to continued membership of the Single Market during a transition period, to enable businesses, universities and public bodies to plan with confidence for the future. This is needed urgently, or employers will start planning on the basis of worst case scenarios, and the trickle of businesses moving overseas will grow into a flood.

Beyond the transition period, Government needs to pursue a deal that enables – as far as possible – frictionless access to European talent for employers as well as guaranteeing the rights of existing EU workers, and integrated trading of services across the continent. We believe that the easiest and best way of achieving this would be to remain in the European single market.

However, if London cannot remain in the single market, it needs a comprehensive trade deal that enables continuing trade in services across the continent and a liberal migration policy framework. And London’s growth is central to the UK’s prosperity.

In addition to a Brexit deal that keeps London open, we need the capital to have the devolved powers to tackle its long-term challenges, and to make the city liveable and attractive for workers and investors alike. The prospect of Brexit makes further devolution of skills, childcare and property taxes not only necessary but urgent.


Lord Andrew Adonis;

The Baroness Altmann CBE;

Michael Arthur, President and Provost of UCL;

Niamh Barker, Managing Director, The Travelwrap Company;

Stephen Bediako, Leading Social Entrepreneur in London;

Wil Benton, Co-Founder & CEO @ Chew;

Tom Brake, Brexit Spokesperson for Liberal Democrats;

Nigel Carrington, Vice-Chancellor of University of the Arts London (UAL);

James Chappell, CTO and co-founder of Digital Shadows;

Leonie Cooper, Labour Assembly Member, Merton and Wandsworth;

Professor Sir Paul Curran, President, City, University of London;

Andrew Dismore, London Assembly Member for Barnet and Camden;

Len Duvall, Assembly Member for Greenwich & Lewisham and Leader of the Labour Group;

Paul Farrelly MP, Chair of the British-German All Party Parliamentary Group;

Nicky Gavron, London Assembly Member and Labour Spokesperson for Planning on the London Assembly;

Helen Hayes, MP for Dulwich and West Norwood;

Rt Hon Margaret Hodge, MP

Merilee Karr, Founder and CEO of UnderTheDoormat;

Sadiq Khan, Mayor of London;

Rob Kniaz, Founding Partner Hoxton Ventures;

Councillor, Claire Kober, OBE, Chair of London Councils;

Ruben Kostucki, Chief Operations Officer at Makers Academy;

The Rt. Hon, the Baroness Kramer;

Charlie Mullins, OBE, Founder, Pimlico Plumbers;

Liz Peace, Chair of Centre for London;

Nick Pearce, Director, The Institute for Policy Research, University of Bath;

Ben Rogers, Director, Centre for London;

Evgeny Shadchnev, Chief Executive Officer at Makers Academy;

Russ Shaw, Founder, Tech London Advocates & Global Tech Advocates;

Colin Stanbridge, CEO, London Chamber of Commerce;

Andrew Travers, Director, Halliford Associates;

Fiona Twycross, London Assembly Member;

Chuka Umunna, Leading Supporter, Open Britain;

The Baroness Wheatcroft;

Jasmine Whitbread, CEO, London First.



This letter draws on research undertaken for ‘Open City – London After Brexit’, a joint project between Centre for London and the Institute for Policy Research at the University of Bath.