Claire Trevett is the New Zealand Herald’s deputy political editor.

Prime Minister Bill English discusses Brexit and business in London

New Zealand Prime Minister Bill English met with London mayor Sadiq Khan. Photo / Claire Trevett
New Zealand Prime Minister Bill English met with London mayor Sadiq Khan. Photo / Claire Trevett

Prime Minister Bill English has visited the New Zealand memorial in Hyde Park after a day of Brexit meetings in London.

English will leave London for Berlin tomorrow morning, and will meet with German Chancellor Angela Merkel before winding up his Europe trip.

After a frantic first day in London in which he met British PM Theresa May and London Mayor Sadiq Khan followed by interviews with international media and a reception at NZ House, it was a quieter Saturday.

Earlier in the day English had met behind closed doors with Brexit minister David Davis and a Brexit contact group, which included the chief executives of large businesses including Tescos, Vodafone and the Aviva insurance group.

"It was a really interesting discussion about the mechanics and the role of business in the Brexit process, which of course is of direct interest to us."

English had also discussed Brexit with May the day before. May has been under fire for the lack of detail she has given on Brexit but English gave her a tick of approval, saying she was approaching the issue with "clarity" and determination.

May is due to deliver a major Brexit speech on Tuesday and English has assured her New Zealand would work constructively with the United Kingdom in whichever way it could.

Preliminary trade talks have already begun but English said he expected the EU free trade agreement to be completed before the UK one given the UK had to wait until it had left the European Union.

Earlier, English laid a wreath at the Hyde Park memorial and got a chance to try out his campaign trail skills on a handful of New Zealanders who had heard of his visit and come for a peek at the new PM.

New Zealand Prime Minister Bill English met with London mayor Sadiq Khan. Photo / Claire Trevett
New Zealand Prime Minister Bill English met with London mayor Sadiq Khan. Photo / Claire Trevett

One woman, on holiday from New Zealand, delivered the verdict that he was a "lovely man." Asked for her views on the handover from Key to English she said she approved. "It was the right time."

English will also get a chance to catch up with former Prime Minister John Key in London - the first time they have seen each other in person since the day English took over the role.

Key has been in Hawaii on holiday but is now in London on his way to Munich for International Democratic Union meetings.

- NZ Herald

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