Beware cars with diplomatic plates and the flags of European capitals slipping smoothly into Canary Wharf and the City. They may not be here for the rapid coffee at Starbucks’ express branch .

Sadiq Khan’s fearful of a feeding frenzy on the capital’s financial sector should the UK lose passporting rights in negotiations to leave the EU.

The Mayor Of London said there was real concern among business leaders that companies would leave the country should the right to sell to Europe under British regulation disappear.

He said Milan and Paris were already knocking on the door

Sadiq told BBC London he’d spoken to Bank Of England governor Mark Carney and London Stock Exchange chief executive Xavier Rolet and there was genuine cause for concern.

He said: “The mayor of Milan was here this week, I met with him, Why was he here? He wants to pinch our business. Who can blame him?

“The mayor of Paris and the deputy mayor have already said they’re rolling out the red carpet to invite businesses to come to Paris. Why wouldn’t they?”

He said financial services was just one sector being targeted amid news Dublin-based investment firm IDA has already planned an advertising campaign for the autumn months highlighting the Irish capital’s proximity to London, common language and its tax regime.

The Mayor Of Frankfurt recently said his city’s “arms and our doors are open”, while financial tech firm Transferwise said it had been courted by Ireland and Switzerland among others but “hoped it could make” remaining in London work.

Confidence damaged

Meanwhile a report into the UK economy published on Friday, July 22, revealed the country’s economy shrank at its fastest rate since the peak of the financial crisis seven years ago.

The purchasing managers index compiled by Markit found manufacturing had dropped to its lowers level since February 2013 and predicted GDP could shrink 0.4% in the third quarter of 2016.

Chancellor Phillip Hammond said the figures showed the prospect of Brexit had damaged confidence and created a period of uncertainty.

Follow The Wharf on Twitter @the_wharf .

Keep up to date with all our articles on Facebook .