Brexiteers have slammed Sadiq Khan's 'disgraceful' pro-European Union fireworks display that lit up London's New Year's Eve celebrations last night - but the mayor has stood by his actions.
Mr Khan defended his decision to light up the London Eye to resemble the EU flag last night despite coming under heavy criticism.
He tweeted: 'Our spectacular #LondonNYE fireworks showed that whatever the outcome of Brexit - #LondonIsOpen - to business, talent, ideas & creativity - and why London really is the greatest city in the world.'
Conservative MP Andrew Bridgen accused Mr Khan of a 'betrayal of democracy' after the Remainer mayor bathed the London Eye in the blue of the bloc's flag, lighting up its carriages in a yellow reminiscent of its stars.
'It’s low, it’s very low to politicise what is an international public event,' he told The Sun. 'It’s a betrayal of democracy and it’s what we have come to expect from a very poor mayor of London.'
Mr Khan was accused of 'absolute disrespect' and of shoving his political views in the faces of the 17.4million voters who chose to leave in the 2016 Referendum as people vented their fury on social media.
Fireworks explode over the London Eye during the New Year's eve celebrations after midnight in London. The display was criticised by Brexiteers due to its pro-EU message
Fireworks light up the sky over the London Eye in central London during the New Year celebrations. Thousands were on hand to witness the spectacular display and celebrate the start of 2019
Mr Khan (pictured at last night's celebrations) was accused of totally disrespecting the Brexit vote
Former Member of the European Parliament Roger Helmer criticised the fireworks display, comparing the decision to push a pro-EU message during Brexit talks with flying an Argentinian flag during the Falklands War.
Twitter user Kevin William Hayes branded the Labour politician a 'd***' and said the mayor was being 'crass' as Gary Fitzsimmons said it was 'highly inappropriate for Sadiq Khan to use tax payers' money to turn the Lonodn Eye into a giant EU flag'.
But some backed the move, with some pointing that the capital itself voted overwhelmingly to remain in the bloc. Victoria Browne congratulated Mr Khan for 'celebrating the UK but also acknowledging our close ties with the EU' ahead of Britain's exit.
The words 'London is open' rang in the new year as the capital welcomed 2019 with a dazzling riverside fireworks display.
The phrase was spoken in seven languages around two minutes past midnight as the city skyline filled with lights in the largest annual display in Europe.
A soundtrack featuring Europe's finest musical artists celebrated the diversity of the capital, after Big Ben, silent for much of 2018 due to renovations, chimed once more.
Mayor of London Sadiq Khan was accused of disrespecting the Leave vote of the 2016 referendum after he lit up the London Eye in a manner that resembled the bloc of the flag (pictured: displays in central London last night)
Mayor of London Sadiq Khan said the sold-out display would show Europe that the capital will remain 'open-minded' and 'outward looking' post-Brexit.
He said Westminster politicians had given the world the impression that Britain is 'insular, inward looking', as Britain begins the new year countdown to Brexit.
Mr Khan said he hoped this year's event would 'send a message of support' to the more than one million European citizens for whom London is home.
Britons ushered in the new year with the familiar chimes of Big Ben, even though the world famous clock has been disconnected for more than a year because of a conservation project
Mayor of London Sadiq Khan (pictured at last night's celebrations) earned praise from some people for his display, which celebrated the relationship between the EU and the UK
Fireworks explode over the London Eye during the New Year's eve celebrations after midnight in London, Tuesday, January 1
He has previously expressed his backing for a People's Vote and has voiced his concerns over the effects of a no-deal Brexit on the capital.
'One of the things which upset many, many Londoners and many people across our country and in Europe is the tone and language used by politicians in Westminster, giving the impression we're insular, inward looking, not welcoming to Europeans,' he said. 'I think the Government's made a mess of negotiations with the European Union.
'Bearing in mind Parliament can't resolve the issue of how we will leave the European Union, we should allow the public to take back control with the option of staying in European Union, or accepting the deal made by the government.'
He vowed that London would remain the same after March 29 2019,