Londoners who are heartbroken by Brexit should be allowed to keep their EU citizenship, Sadiq Khan has suggested.
Ahead of his visit to Brussels today, the Mayor of London has urged the government to give British nationals the option for “associate citizenship” of the European Union.
This would involve paying a fee in order to keep many of the rights they held before the UK withdrew from the bloc – including the right to move freely between member states.
Mr Khan said: “Like so many Londoners, I am heartbroken that we are no longer a member of the European Union, but that doesn't mean our country's future can't be closely linked with the rest of Europe.
“The Prime Minister says his job is to bring the country together and move us forward and I cannot think of a better way of reconciling the differences between British voters who wanted to leave, and the millions of Londoners and British nationals who still feel and want to be European.
“There would be support from millions of Londoners and British nationals who are devastated they are losing their rights as EU citizens.
“As the UK and EU start their next phase of negotiations, I want this issue of associate citizenship to be at the heart of talks about our future relationship.”
Mr Khan will meet the EU’s chief Brexit negotiator, Michel Barnier, and the president of the European Parliament, David Sassoli, during today’s visit to the Belgium capital.
The idea has been backed by the former chairman of the European Parliament's Brexit steering group, Guy Verhofstadt, who said that the decision of the government should not mean individual citizens have to “lose their connection with the continent”.
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