London mayor Sadiq Khan’s journey to Brussels to argue “heartbroken” Britons ought to be provided “associate citizenship” of the EU has been dismissed as a “gimmick”.
Mr Khan travelled to the Belgian capital on Tuesday to fulfill the EU’s chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier and European Parliament president David Sassoli.
He additionally held talks with European Parliament Brexit coordinator Guy Verhofstadt over the concept of UK nationals being given the possibility to retain their EU citizenship and maintain a “link” to the bloc.
However, with lower than three months till the London mayoral elections, Mr Khan was advised to as an alternative deal with combating violent crime within the capital.
Shaun Bailey, the Conservative Party candidate hoping to cease Mr Khan being re-elected in May, mentioned: “Three extra Londoners had been stabbed on the weekend and a young person is preventing for his life as we communicate, and the place is our mayor?
“In Brussels, asserting a gimmick he has no powers to implement.
“The mayor has got to focus on his actual responsibilities; he should be in London, urgently speaking with the Met Police, over whom he does have actual powers.”
Rory Stewart, the previous MP and unbiased mayoral candidate, accused Mr Khan of chasing a “soundbite”, including: “The policy cannot work.”
At a information convention in Brussels alongside Mr Verhofstadt – a protracted-time champion of Britons being provided affiliate citizenship after Brexit – Mr Khan described what number of Londoners had been “heartbroken” by the UK’s departure from the EU final month.
He mentioned: “I’m going to bang the drum for our metropolis and to be near our associates in Europe… but additionally seeing if there is a chance, regardless that we have left the EU, of some type of affiliate citizenship going ahead.
“I’ve been happy with the response and it provides hope to Londoners and others throughout our nation.”
Mr Khan hailed affiliate citizenship for Britons as “the subsequent smartest thing” to the UK staying in the EU’s single market and retaining the bloc’s freedom of movement rules, which he admitted “clearly isn’t going to occur”.
He mentioned: “Even if the British authorities does not reciprocate in relation to affiliate citizenship, we predict the EU will put out the fraternal hand of friendship and recognise there are folks in our nation who wish to keep near the EU.”
Mr Verhofstadt was challenged as as to whether affiliate citizenship would imply Britons having fun with the advantages of EU membership with out the UK having the obligations of being a part of the bloc.
He insisted the UK must supply “reciprocity” to EU residents.
But the Belgian politician additionally admitted there can be an uphill process in convincing EU leaders to again his marketing campaign.
“The very first thing to do is to persuade European governments to come back ahead with the concept,” he mentioned.
Jean-Claude Piris, a former authorized adviser to the European Council, claimed the plan for affiliate citizenship was “not doable” with out first altering EU treaties.
“No member state [would be] keen to do it in any case,” he added.