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Sadiq Khan calls for young people to be free to move around EU for first time since Brexit

London Mayor Sadiq Khan giving a speech to the Fabian Society conference in central London (Maja Smiejkowska/PA) (PA Wire)
London Mayor Sadiq Khan giving a speech to the Fabian Society conference in central London (Maja Smiejkowska/PA) (PA Wire)

London mayor Sadiq Khan has called for young people to be able to freely move to and from the EU for the first time since Brexit, arguing it would “benefit us economically, culturally and socially”.

Mr Khan has told the Observer he backs a “youth mobility” agreement with EU countries or changes to post-Brexit visa rules that currently restrict travel and the ability to work in other European countries.

The politician, who is seeking a record third term in office in this year’s mayoral election, told the newspaper: “The government’s hard Brexit has done damage right across London and it is young people who have been hardest hit in so many ways.

“Not only is it more difficult for young people to move abroad for work, but the government’s wrong-headed decision to leave the Erasmus scheme has made it much harder for students to study abroad too.

“I’m clear that I’d be supportive of a youth mobility scheme, which would benefit us economically, culturally and socially. While the UK may no longer be part of the EU, London is, and always will be, a European city.”

Mr Khan said he wants new rules to allow young people to study, travel and fill vacancies in key sectors of the economy.

The comments come after the Mayor said rejoining the trade alliance should be on the table when the Brexit deal with the EU comes up for review in 2024.

“Let’s have the conversation,” the London Mayor said in a Q&A at the Fabian Society conference on Saturday.

“I’m not saying today we should rejoin the European Union. What I’m saying is that (shadow foreign secretary) David Lammy is onto something when he’s saying we should have a closer relationship with the European Union.”

He said that “the economic cost of this extreme hard Brexit is huge” as he criticised the “omerta”, or pact of silence, meaning “you can’t talk about being close to the European Union, joining the single market, joining the customs union”.