London’s sold-out New Year’s Eve fireworks show will show Europe that the capital will remain “open-minded” and “outward looking” post-Brexit, Sadiq Khan said.
The London Mayor said Westminster politicians had given the world the impression that Britain is “insular, inward looking”, and emphasised the theme of the night’s programme that “London is open”.
He said he hoped this year’s event would “send a message of support” to the more than one million European citizens who call London their home.
Khan has previously expressed his backing for a People’s Vote and has voiced his concerns over the effects of a no-deal Brexit on the capital.
Speaking to the Press Association on New Year’s Eve, he said: “Well one of the things which upset many, many Londoners and many people across our country and in Europe is the tone and language used by politicians in Westminster, giving the impression we’re insular, inward looking, not welcoming to Europeans.”
“I think the Government’s made a mess of negotiations with the European Union,” Khan continued.
“Bearing in mind Parliament can’t resolve the issue of how we will leave the European Union, we should allow the public to take back control with the option of staying in European Union, or accepting the deal made by the government,” he said.
He vowed that London would remain the same after March 29 2019, adding: “What tonight is about is showing the world, while they’re watching us, that we’re going to carry on being open-minded, outward looking, pluralistic”.
The Thames-side display will bring together more than 100,000 spectators to watch the largest annual firework display in Europe, including eight tonnes of fireworks.
Big Ben will return to action to start the countdown after remaining silent for the year during renovation works.
The Metropolitan Police advised ticket-holders to pack lightly and only bring essentials, as no backpacks or suitcases will be allowed into the event.
Khan added: “Tonight’s about celebrating who we are as a city. We, in my opinion, are one of the greatest cities in the world, one of the reason we are one of the greatest cities in the world is because of the contribution made by Europeans,” he said.
“I think diversity is a strength and I think what tonight is about is celebrating that diversity.
“I hope that members of Parliament, members of the Government will see the fireworks tonight, will listen to the soundtrack and will reflect on what sort of country they want to live in post-March,” he added.
The event will be broadcast on BBC One for those who were unable to buy a ticket.