Thousands of Londoners demand independence after Brexit

Agence France-Presse
A British flag which was washed away by heavy rains the day before lies on the street in London, Britain, June 24, 2016 after Britain voted to leave the European Union in the EU BREXIT referendum.
A British flag lies on a street in London on June 24, 2016, after Britain voted to leave the European Union. 
Reinhard Krause

Tens of thousands of Londoners signed a petition for their metropolis to stay in the European Union on Friday, as Mayor Sadiq Khan said the city must have a say in Britain's exit negotiations.

More than 40,000 people signed a petition on the change.org website saying: "Declare London independent from the UK and apply to join the EU".

Richard Sargent on Twitter

An appealing idea? #londonstays https://www.change.org/p/uk-parliament-londonstays-we-want-to-remain-par... ... #brexit

While Britain voted 52 percent in favor of leaving the EU in Thursday's referendum, 60 percent of Londoners voted for Britain to stay.

Stefan Simanowitz on Twitter

The new post-#Brexit map of #Europe (via @Skit92cal) #EUref #LondonStayspic.twitter.com/CpsXtPZ7yb

"London is an international city, and we want to remain at the heart of Europe," the petition said.

"Let's face it — the rest of the country disagrees. So rather than passive aggressively vote against each other at every election, let's make the divorce official and move in with our friends on the continent.

"This petition is calling on Mayor Sadiq Khan to declare London independent, and apply to join the EU," it said.

Stefan Simanowitz on Twitter

Petition calling for London to remain part of #EU & a #LondonStays demo planned for Tuesday https://www.change.org/p/uk-parliament-londonstays-we-want-to-remain-par... ...pic.twitter.com/vAqtOWHLzY

Khan himself issued a statement on the negotiations for Britain's departure from the EU.

"It is crucial that London has a voice at the table during those renegotiations, alongside Scotland and Northern Ireland," the pro-EU mayor said.

"Although we will be outside the EU, it is crucial that we remain part of the single market," he said.

"Leaving the single market of 500 million people — with its free-trade benefits — would be a mistake. I will be pushing the government to ensure this is the cornerstone of the negotiations with the EU," he said.

Another petition entitled "London to remain part of the European Union" garnered over 9,000 signatures on change.org, saying the vote to leave the EU was "a vital decision that we don't agree with".

A Twitter account @London_Stays was also quickly set up and many people tweeted under the hashtag #londonstays in the wake of the vote.

Republic of London on Twitter

No Longer British but a Londoner #notmyvote #LondonStays

"Really hoping we're just out, not out out," said Katy Ball. Another user tweeting as @ldn_republic wrote: "No longer British but a Londoner".

"I am now officially all for Scottish independence, a united Ireland and the City-State of London," Clare Fenwick tweeted.

Besides London, Scotland and Northern Ireland were the only other parts of the UK where a majority voted in favor of Britain staying in the EU.