Government insists it will continue providing security help to EU after Brexit - despite Theresa May warning

Posted On: 
11th September 2017

Britain will continue to provide military and security assistance to the European Union after Brexit, the Government has insisted.

David Davis said Britain wanted to continue its 'deep and special partnership with the EU'
Credit: 
PA Images

Co-operation on sanctions and foreign policy will also go on after March 2019, according to a position paper being published by the Department for Exiting the EU.

It says the UK wants to maintain "a deep security partnership" with the other 27 EU member states in future to help tackle issues such as illegal migration, terrorism and cyber attacks.

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But the offer seemed at odds with previous comments by Theresa May suggesting continued security co-operation would rest on whether Brussels and the UK could reach a trade deal.

Brexit Secretary David Davis said the offer was necessary because both the UK and EU "will continue to face shared threats to our security, our shared values and our way of life".

He said: "It’s in our mutual interest to work closely with the EU and its member states to challenge terrorism and extremism, illegal migration, cyber-crime, and conventional state-based military aggression.

"Today’s paper highlights Britain’s world class diplomacy and defence capabilities, our leading contribution to international development, and our desire to continue to use these as part of a deep and special partnership with the EU."

Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson said: "As we leave the EU, the UK’s commitment to European security is undiminished. We will pursue a global foreign policy, and continue to work in partnership with our neighbours to promote peace, democracy and security in our continent and across the world."

But in her Article 50 letter to European Council president Donald Tusk in March, the Prime Minister said: "If we leave the European Union without an agreement, the default position is that we would have to trade on World Trade Organisation terms.

"In security terms, a failure to reach agreement would mean our co-operation in the fight against crime and terrorism would be weakened."

Labour MP and Open Britain supporter Chris Bryant said: "The Government’s intention to continue to share a deep foreign policy and security relationship with the EU in future is welcome, but it makes a mockery of their threat to leave the EU with no deal at all.

"Doing so would overnight end our security relationship with Europe, putting our citizens and theirs at risk. It is high time the Government dropped its absurd no-deal threat."