The capital’s New Year fireworks display will “send a message of support to more than one million European Union citizens who call London their home” and “show the world that London will always be open,” Sadiq Khan has said ahead of this year’s annual event.
City Hall says that the Mayor’s sold-out, ticket-only show will feature “a soundtrack inspired by the continent” and be started by the midnight strikes of Big Ben, which has been silent throughout 2018 due to renovation works.
Eight tonnes of fireworks will be set off from 348 firing locations on barges and pontoons on the Thames and on the London Eye, and directly viewed by over 100,000 paying spectators along with a global TV audience.
The event has been incorporated by the Mayor into the “London Is Open” marketing campaign he launched in partnership with business organisations in the capital following the result of the 2016 referendum on EU membership, which saw a narrow victory for those wishing to end it but 60 per cent of Londoners voting to “remain”.
The Mayor’s move is of a piece with his strongly pro-EU stance and determination to maintain London’s reputation as a “global city”, welcoming talent, labour, financial investment and visitors from around the world.
Though recognising the result of the referendum, Mayor Khan has lobbied national government to secure a Brexit agreement that enables the capital’s employers to continue to recruit workers from other EU states as easily as possible, and in September joined calls for a “final say” second referendum. He wrote in The Observer that “this means a public vote on any deal or a vote on no-deal, alongside the option of staying in the EU”.
BBC coverage of the New Year’s fireworks display will begin at 11:00 pm. Image showing last year’s display is from the GLA website.