LONDON Mayor Sadiq Khan’s choice to celebrate the capital’s “close relationship with Europe” during the traditional New Year’s fireworks display has sparked fury across the country, with outraged Britons branding the demonstration a “disgraceful ploy”.
Mr Khan “ruined” the yearly display by turning it into a Remain-backing show, many disappointed viewers of the fireworks said. Roughly 100,000 people gathered along the Thames to watch the show and millions more saw it broadcasted by the BBC. But many were hugely disheartened to see the firework display was turned into a political message – and took their rage to Twitter.
Twitter user Dominic McGinty wrote: “Disgraceful ploy at London fireworks tonight.. lightning the EU flag up and not the union Jack, he needs to go.. looking forward to leaving babylon… God bless Brexit Britain.”
Another social media user accused Mr Khan of using the fireworks for “political gain”, writing: “The London fireworks are a tradition now!
“Not an event for your political gain!
“Fancy you @SadiqKhan being a low life bringing Brexit into it!
“It’s the one event that actually brings unity to the country!
“And you have to go and ruin it!”
The fireworks show formed part of the Mayor’s London Is Open campaign, which aims at showing that the capital remains “open to the world, proud of our diversity and inclusive to everyone” despite Brexit, as stated on the London City Hall’s website.
Prior to the display, Mr Khan said: “Every year our capital puts on the greatest fireworks show in the world with the spectacular images of our skyline shared all around the globe.
“I’m proud that this year the millions watching around the world will see us send a message of support to more than one million EU citizens who call London their home.
“By paying tribute to our close relationship with Europe as we welcome in the New Year, we will once again will show the world that London will always be open.”
But some Britons said this was unfair, as the show was not just for Londoners.
A Twitter user wrote: “These are fireworks for the whole country and not just London.”
And others suggested Mr Khan should have not “pushed” an anti-Brexit message, writing: “8 tonnes of Fireworks and Sadiq Khan pushing Remain.
“Soldiers homeless on the streets and knife crime spiralling out of control.
Sadiq Khan launched a campaign called London Is Open (Image: GETTY)
“Police force cut. #Shocking #London #Brexit”.
Another social media user wrote: “Why has Sadiq Khan spent millions of taxpayers money on an Anti-Brexit demo masquarading as a New Year party??? #londonfireworks”.
But the “anti-Brexit” message was not disregarded by everyone.
One Twitter user, who in her short biography defined herself as a “passionate European”, said: “Love London’s fireworks! Well done @SadiqKhan.
Roughly 100,000 people gathered along the Thames to watch the show (Image: GETTY)
“This is the year to stop Brexit and keep London (and Britain) the open, multi cultural, EU member that it truly is.”
Another called Mr Khan a “brilliant man”.
The tweet read: “Loving the anti Brexit-ness of the London fireworks.
“Sadiq Khan you brilliant man.”