Sadiq Khan unveils Brexit panel featuring Lord Mandelson and Santander chair to advise on getting "best deal" for London

Rebecca Smith
Labour peer and former business secretary Lord Mandelson campaigned to remain in Europe
Labour peer and former business secretary Lord Mandelson campaigned to remain in Europe (Source: Getty)

Sadiq Khan has recruited an assortment of business leaders, investors and academics in an effort to boost London's Brexit credentials.

The mayor announced a new Brexit Expert Advisory panel to advise him on the risks, challenges and opportunities for the capital in the wake of June's vote to leave the European Union.

Members include Sir George Iacobescu, chairman and chief executive of the Canary Wharf Group, Sherry Coutu, the executive chair of Scaleup Institute and former European trade commissioner Lord Mandelson, who was a vocal proponent of staying in the EU.

London Assembly Conservative member Gareth Bacon has called the choice of Mandelson "a bizarre appointment".

“Now that the British people have voted to leave Europe, the mayor’s job is to make the best of that decision for London and Londoners," he said. "On those terms, appointing the Blairite Peter Mandelson to any sort of role is a gross misjudgement and one the mayor should reverse immediately.”

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Also joining the panel are Baroness Vadera, the chair of Santander UK, the chief executive of the London Stock Exchange Group Xavier Rolet and Julia Onslow-Cole, partner, legal market leader and head of global immigration at PwC.

The mayor said: "This expert group of advisers will allow me to tap into some of our top business minds as negotiations progress."

The panel will provide on-call advice to Khan, with members spanning tech, science, media and financial services.

Khan has been holding a series of monthly meetings with Brexit Secretary David Davis and will call on his new panel as Brexit developments progress to help formulate a "proper, sensible solution to the complicated challenge of leaving the European Union".

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Khan added: "I have promised to be the most pro-business mayor that London has ever had - and now I'm delivering on that promise. For the last six months, I have been speaking to businesses of all shapes and sizes about what the need from the forthcoming Brexit negotiations."

A recent study by Nesta revealed London remains the European capital for startups and scale-ups, but flagged concerns around access to a skilled workforce.

Khan said securing access to the Single Market, maintaining a "world-class" financial sector and making sure London can continue to attract global talent were all recurring themes from his conversations with businesses so far.

The full Brexit panel:

Sir George Iacobescu - Chairman and chief executive, the Canary Wharf Group

Xavier Rolet - Chief executive, the London Stock Exchange Group

Julia Onslow-Cole - Partner, legal markets leader and head of global immigration, PwC

Professor Alice Gast - President, Imperial College London

Catherine Dixon - Chief executive, the Law Society

Baroness Vadera - Chair, Santander UK

Lord Mandelson - Former European commissioner

Mark Boleat - Chairman, the City of London Corporation’s policy and resources committee

Sir Harpal Kumar - Chief executive, Cancer Research UK

Vanessa Kingori - Publisher, British GQ

Victoria Quinlan - Chief operating officer, Lendlease Europe

Geoffrey Spence - Head of global infrastructure, Lloyds Bank

Sherry Coutu - Executive chair, Scaleup Institute

Sir John Sorrell - Chairman, Creative Industries Federation

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