World

LONDON: Thousands of people are signing a petition calling for mayor Sadiq Khan to declare London as an independent city state and join the European Union.

The calls in London to declare independence are accompanied by a growing wave of anxiety throughout the country against Britain’s exit from the European bloc, termed by some as “Bregret”.

The British capital overwhelmingly voted to remain in the EU during yesterday’s referendum, bucking a national trend which saw the Leave campaign secure victory.

And now a petition calling for London to be declared independent from the UK has been backed by more than 8,000 people in a few hours – and the total is rising rapidly, the Standard.co.uk reported.

The online campaign came as Londoners flocked to social media to demand independence for the capital.

James O’Malley, who set up the petition, wrote: “London is an international city, and we want to remain at the heart of Europe.

“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 – including membership of the Schengen Zone (Umm, we’ll talk about the Euro…).

“Mayor Sadiq, wouldn’t you prefer to be President Sadiq? Make it happen!”

Aping some of the Leave campaign’s arguments, supporter John Gowers wrote on the site: “One pound in every five earned by Londoners is used to fund the rest of the UK.

“In a typical year, London contributes £10 to £20 billion to the rest of the UK and receives nothing in return.”

He went on: “London has *no control* over its borders while it remains a member of the UK. Since 2007, there have been more people coming into London from the UK than there have from the rest of the world combined.

“An independent London would be able to impose an Australian-style points-based immigration system at its border.”

And John Godfrey suggested: “We’ll keep a permeable border of course & anyone with hope in their hearts who wants to join the party is welcomed with open arms.”

Londoners were hugely in favour of staying in the EU, with 2,263,519 votes compared to only 1,513,232 backing Brexit.