WATCH Sajid Javid refuses to reject claims UK will be less safe after no-deal Brexit
Sajid Javid today refused to reject claims Britain will be less safe if it quits the EU without a Brexit deal.
The Home Secretary was asked repeatedly whether a no-deal departure would put the UK at risk, but would only say it would “continue to be one of the safest countries in the world”.
Ex-MI5 boss Baroness Manningham-Buller, former UK national security adviser Lord Ricketts and Met terror boss Neil Basu have all warned about the dangers of quitting with no deal.
They argue Britain would lose access to key information-sharing about suspects and other schemes designed to boost cross-border security.
Asked about their comments on the Andrew Marr show today, Mr Javid admitted there would be “a change in capability” but noted most of the mechanisms only applied to the UK from 2015.
He added: “I am absolutely confident that we will continue to be one of the safest countries in the world - even in a no-deal scenario.”
Pressed further, he said: “I have to plan on the basis that in a no-deal scenario the EU will not allow us to access those capabilities. There will be mitigants [but] they are not perfect.”
Elsewhere, Mr Javid argued his Border Force advisers had assured him technology exists to keep the Irish border open after Brexit without the need for a so-called ‘backstop’ mechanism.
The backstop in the deal struck by Theresa May - which would see the UK kept in a customs union with the bloc to protect the Northern Irish frontier - is the most contentious element of the agreement.
Critics argue it would leave the UK tied to EU rules indefinitely and could spark the break-up of the UK.
Some MPs have suggested technology could be used to manage the border from a distance, but many others - including the EU - have said such technology does not yet exist.
Mr Javid said: “I asked Border Force months ago to advise me to look at what alternative arrangements are possible.
“They have shown me quite clearly you can have no hard border on the island of Ireland and you can use existing technology.
“It’s perfectly possible. The only thing that's missing is a bit of goodwill on the EU side.”
Mr Javid also said the Government was “committed” to the UK quitting the EU on the planned date of 29 March, after Cabinet colleagues admitted the departure could be delayed.