SCOTLAND and London should form an alliance to extract maximum concessions from the UK government over Brexit, according to the dedicated thinktank for the UK’s capital.

The Centre for London said there was significant common ground between the city and Scotland, which both voted to Remain in June, particularly on finance and higher education.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon spoke within a week of the Brexit vote to London Mayor Sadiq Khan to discuss their “shared interest” in preserving relations with the EU.

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In an article for today’s Agenda in The Herald, the Centre’s research manager Kat Hanna said: “Like Scotland, London voted confidently to remain in the European Union, so there’s a degree of solidarity, both in terms of shared disappointment at the result, and a determination not to let the worst of Brexit bring our country and city down.

“There are a number of ways in which London and Scotland should work together. We should, for example, join forces in calling for greater powers for our regions.”

She said financial services and higher education were particularly relevant to the debate on powers, as both were strong in Scotland and London, and both were alarmed by Brexit.

“We should campaign together for regional visas, which would allow those parts of the UK who value openness and access to talent to continue to welcome migrants.

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“Rather than losing the world’s leading financial hub of London in the hope that businesses will chose Edinburgh over Frankfurt or Paris, imagine the economic clout of twin financial hubs of Edinburgh and London, joined by regional visas and a passporting system.”

Graeme Jones, chief executive of Scottish Financial Enterprise, said: “Brexit poses many of the same challenges for financial services in Scotland and London.

“Access to passporting, the single market, skilled workforce and the need for sound transitional arrangements , are all key to the industry.

“It is important for the industry to work with governments to share these concerns and explain the potential impacts removing this access will have on the industry.

“SFE is working closely with colleagues in London to do just that, but ultimately the mechanisms for addressing these concerns will be for governments.”

Alastair Sim, tdirector of Universities Scotland, said: “There are certainly parallels between Scotland and London: both have a strong higher education sector and both had strong support for remaining in the European Union in June.

“Our biggest shared concern is the free movement of students and staff in post-Brexit UK which will be essential to the success of Scotland’s universities and the wider economy.”

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SNP Brexit minister Michael Russell said: “We will soon be opening a new Innovation and Investment Hub in London and we want to see our links strengthened to enhance our current presence and build on existing relationships.

“We are keen to work with others who share the vision to remain a member of the single market, which is crucial to businesses, universities and communities in Scotland and across the UK.”