Steerpike Steerpike

Remainers proven wrong about Brexit security risks

(Photo by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)

Another day, another Remoaner myth destroyed. Today’s report on International Partnerships by parliament’s Intelligence and Security Committee finds that ‘Brexit has not had a negative impact on intelligence co-operation between the UK and EU member states’. How very curious – not least because of the incessant warnings spouted by Brexit pessimists of the very opposite happening. So much for all that fear-mongering, eh?

The conclusion follows examples of rather commendatory reports from MI5. The organisation assured the committee that ‘European partners have been very keen to continue working with MI5’ and its director general added: ‘I don’t think [Brexit] has led to a material diminution in the UK’s standing [in terms of intelligence co-operation].’ New Foreign Secretary David Cameron appears to agree, telling the House of Lords this afternoon that the war in Ukraine has shown how UK-EU security cooperation is working just fine – without any need for a specific pact.

It’s evidence that directly contradicts the pre-Brexit warnings of ex-MI5 chief Eliza Manningham-Buller. The non-partisan peer said that to leave the EU ‘would present real risks to our security and safety’, going so far as to describe claims to the contrary as being ‘nonsensical and spurious’. She sided with former director-general of MI5 Baron Evans of Weardale and former head of MI6 Sir John Sawers on the matter. The pair cautioned Sunday Times readers that EU security agreements reached without Britain at the table would ‘undermine our ability to protect ourselves’.

Not particularly prescient of the trio, Mr S would note. Less cloak-and-daggers than stabbing in the dark…

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Steerpike is The Spectator's gossip columnist, serving up the latest tittle tattle from Westminster and beyond. Email tips to or message @MrSteerpike

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