UK to leave EU but London left with a sense of the unknown

As the United Kingdom prepares to leave the European Union at 11pm on Friday 31 January, Londoners are being left in limbo.

It is a day the majority of Londoners did not want, with almost 60% voting to remain in the EU but now they are facing up to the inevitable.

Essentially, very little will change for people in their day-to-day life as the country will abide by EU rules during a transition period which will run until the end of the year.

In the next 11 months politicians will be tasked with negotiating a deal with the EU and until one is agreed the future is up in the air.

It means businesses and EU citizens do not know if and how they will be impacted.

London Mayor Sadiq Khan says he is "heartbroken" by the UK's departure from the EU and has called on the government to get the best deal for the country to allow the capital to thrive.

"I've grown up in a generation who don't see their European neighbours with suspicion but see them as friends and members of our family.

"What is really important, though, is that this time tomorrow our country won't be part of the European Union, the progressive values we have aren't going to change, we're still going to be a city that is welcoming and we're still going to be a city that needs EU citizens to contribute to our success economically, socially and culturally.

"What I would say to the government is 'look, those who campaigned to leave the EU, you want to make Brexit a success, I want to make London continue to make London the greatest city in the world'.

"It's really important we work together to make this a success. What can't let happen is to wallow in pity, look backwards, we've got to make sure we welcome those EU Londoners are still here and encourage others to come."

Pascal Aussignac, chef patron at the Michelin-starred Club Gascon restaurant near Barbican, says he has struggled to recruit staff since the referendum in 2016 and is waiting to see if and how Brexit will impact his business.

Asked if he will make a success of Brexit, Aussignac said: "We have no choice, I have no choice, it's the decision of the country, they've got the majority.

"I wake up with it. I am not saying I am happy, it is part of it. We are going to adapt.

"We don't know what is going to happen in the next few months, in the next year, especially with the importation of products.

"I make French cuisine, I import French products, maybe we are going to have more tax, I don't know what will happen."

Since the referendum Aussignac has secured his British passport but those EU citizens who are not eligible can still confirm their settled status.

For more information on how to gain settled status visit the government's website.