How London Could Cease To Exist If We Leave The EU

By M@ Last edited 23 months ago
How London Could Cease To Exist If We Leave The EU

Featured image by EZTD from the Londonist Flickr pool

Did you know that London doesn't really exist, except as a European constituency?

Think about it. We all call this big old place 'London', and it's often labelled as such on maps. But it's only a shorthand. Can we find a political entity that's officially called just 'London'?

The ceremonial county of Greater London accounts for most of what we think of as London. It's equivalent to the green areas shown in the map above, overseen by City Hall and the 32 borough councils. Greater London can be further divided into Inner London and Outer London, depicted as the two green shades in our image.

There's also the City of London — a tiny city that sits within the wider London area, often called the Square Mile. We've shown it as the golden nugget in the image above, because that's how they like to be seen. The City has the full powers of a borough, as well as its own police force, but enjoys a unique status outside the borough system. Couple the City to the ceremonial county, and you get the administrative county of Greater London — everything that's coloured in the map.

Greater London also contains the City of Westminster (which is also a borough), and several extra-parochial areas such as Inner and Middle Temple.

We have a Mayor of London, but he heads the Greater London Authority, not a London Authority. In this and other political appointments, the term 'London' is just a convenient and common shorthand for the official name of the city.

So where is 'London'?

We have to turn to Europe. The definitive name of our European Parliamentary Constituency is simply London. Not 'Greater', 'Lesser', 'Inner' or 'Outer'. Simply London. If on 23 June the British public vote to leave the EU, then this constituency will cease to exist. It follows that London, too, will then cease to exist — at least as an official political name.

While Londonist doesn't officially endorse one campaign or the other, it would be a pity to let London disappear into the history books.

Last Updated 22 June 2016


Well, this is fucking stupid.


There is also the London of the Metropolitan Police, the London Fire Brigade, Thames Water, TfL and probably others.

Andrew Stevenson

London has always had a strange mixture of boundaries and definitions, long before the EU existed. This article is lazy non-journalism.

Bill Ellson

What utter drivel.

S.2(1) London Government Act 1963 "The area comprising the areas of the London boroughs, the City and the Temples shall constitute an administrative area to be known as Greater London."
The 1963 Act gave the City of London Corporation (CoLC) the same powers and responsibilities as the London Boroughs created by the Act.
Far from "a unique status outside the borough system." CoLC provide the same Education, Social Services, Housing, Waste, Town Planning, Highways, Licensing, Library and Environmental Health Services on the same basis as the Boroughs. The Chairman of CoLC's Policy and Resources Committee (the de facto leader of the council) is one of the Vice Chairs of London Councils.


Of all the stupid arguments i've seen for voting Remain (which I am doing anyway), this is the stupidest.