London Independence

London independence, also shortened to Londependence, refers to the belief that Greater London should either be granted more devolved autonomy as a country on par with e.g. Scotland, or that it should become an independent city-state rather than remaining part of the United Kingdom, sometimes with the latter as a long-term goal.

Movement

London by nightLondon’s status within the United Kingdom has been debated over the years, with frequent calls for increased autonomy or full country status, or calls for London becoming a city-state.
Supporters have frequently cited Greater London’s population of over 8 million people, its economic size, its global role, its diverse population and its unique challenges compared to the rest of England as reasons for greater autonomy. The idea of London becoming a city-state was discussed from the 1990s, and resurfaced during the Scottish independence referendum of 2014.

The movement for either increased autonomy or full sovereignty received a boost following the UK EU referendum in 2016, during which the England and Wales as a whole voted to leave the European Union, but London voted to remain in the EU. This led to thousands of Londoners petitioning Mayor Sadiq Khan to seek London’s independence from the UK so it could remain part of the EU. Supporters cite London’s status as a “world city” and its demographic and economic differences from the rest of the United Kingdom, and argue that it should become a city-state based on the model of Singapore, while remaining an EU member state.
Spencer Livermore, Baron Livermore, said that London’s independence “should be a goal”, arguing that a London city-state would have twice the GDP of Singapore.
Tony Travers argued that Khan would be “well within his rights to tell the government London didn’t vote for Brexit and that City Hall now viewed the government as dysfunctional.” Analyst Kevin Doran said that London becoming an independent state is not just possible, but inevitable “within 20 to 30 years’ time.”

After the EU referendum vote, Peter John, the Labour Party leader of the London Borough of Southwark stated it would be a “legitimate question” for London to consider its future in the United Kingdom and the European Union. Southwark had voted 72% in favour of remaining in the EU. John also said “London would be the 15th largest EU state, bigger than Austria, Denmark and Ireland and our values are in line with Europe – outward looking, confident of our place in the world, enriched by our diversity and stronger working together with our friends and neighbours than we are alone.”

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