Following are excerpts from a CNBC interview with Sadiq Khan, the Mayor of London, from the World Economic Forum 2017 with Wilfred Frost
SK: What we're trying to do is impress upon our Prime Minister, the importance of privileged access to a single market. She said warm words about the importance of a single market, I accept the case that the British public have voted to leave the European Union, to leave the structures, the legal institutions. What the British public haven't done is to vote to make us poorer. I'm quite clear speaking to business leaders, speaking to executives, entrepreneurs, innovators, that access to a single market, the continued ability to attract talent is important for jobs growth and prosperity. It's one of the things I'm doing, is not just lobbying the British government but lobbying businesses to impress upon their governments the fact that a hard Brexit would be bad for London and bad for Europe too.
WF: How hard would it be, how bad would it be?
SK: All the evidence that we have is one of the reasons is why businesses love investing in London. Whether it's finance, whether it's tech, whether its pharmaceutical, is our access to a single market, is our ability to attract the most talented from around the world. And the concern is that some of these businesses may decide to leave London and go not just to maybe Paris, Madrid or Berlin but may leave Europe all together and go to Hong Kong, Singapore, or elsewhere. So a message to my European friends is, it's in your interests too to make sure there isn't a so called 'hard Brexit'.
WF: So far is there already signs of companies leaving not just London but Europe, I mean we just had the Q4 results of various US investment banks, very strong numbers from them and they all suggest they are taking market share from Europe already.
SK: Well the good news is last year we saw huge investments in London, you saw Google, Apple, Facebook, Snapchat widening their presence in London. There is a concern that if there is no longer a passport?with financial services there is a concern if we no longer have access to a single market some of these banks, investment firms may leave London. They don't want to leave London, they love being in London, we're the cultural capital of the world, we've got the greatest theatres, restaurants and all the rest of it. And what's important is our Prime minister gets it because if it is the case that we lose access to a single market, if it's the case that firms leave London, we'll be poorer as a result and future generations will be let down.
WF: There was a great sense of divide across the UK after the Brexit Vote particularly in places like London which had voted to remain, similar in fact sense of divide across the united states at the moment. In London itself do you feel like enough time has passed that things have healed, that sense of divide has healed?
SK: So London was the one region in England to vote to remain in the EU overwhelming so, but we've got to accept, and this is the point I made in the speech last night, there is a rise of populism, across the world, the USA we saw it recently, France, the UK. In my view, the EU vote, the Brexit vote was a proxy for the frustrations that people have, the middle class have. The fact they are not showing the fruits of globalisation and we need to make sure that we do a far better job in them getting the benefits of globalization or getting more and more of populism rising.
WF: During Donald Trump's election campaign there was a lot of strong rhetoric including some anti-Muslim rhetoric which has been put to you before. In terms of how he's changed, since the election, during the transition period, are you encouraged by the changed we've seen in Donald Trump's rhetoric or are you still very concerned about some of it, particularly the comments he had towards Muslims?
SK: Well look toward the end of this week Donald Trump will be the President of the United States of America. We have got a special relationship with the USA. You look at the USA's history, you'll know this the importance of immigration to the USA the importance of being a diverse society, and I am sure president trump will understand the importance of the message the USA sends as a friend to people around the world but also as a pluralistic society and I'm looking forward to President Trump recognising the huge contribution Muslims, Jews, Christians, Buddhists, Hindus, Sikhs and others, those of no organised faith have made to the USA and to the west generally.