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Six times Remainers denied an EU army would happen

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One of the points of discussion which dominated British politics in the Brexit era was the possibility of the formation of an ‘EU army’. During the referendum campaign and for years afterwards, Remainers and ‘People’s Vote’ campaigners repeatedly claimed that there was no serious chance of establishing an EU army because the upper echelons of the Commission had no interest in the idea – despite top Eurocrats being so open about their goals.

But now the fall of Afghanistan and the sudden realisation of Europe’s dependancy on America has brought the issue to the fore once again. On Thursday EU foreign affairs representative Josep Borrell announced that the withdrawal will ‘catalyse’ the EU to establish its own army, comments which follow in the wake of similar remarks by Ursula von der Leyen prior to her taking up the presidency of the European Commission.

With such winds of change blowing through the continent’s defence ministries, Mr Steerpike thought it would be a good idea to list seven times Remainers dismissed the possibility of the creation of an EU army…

Jonathan Lis, 2019

Writing in the Guardian in January 2019, the former deputy direct of pro-Remain group British Influence listed a ‘series of myths’ he claimed the Brexit campaign was based on: £350m for the NHS, Turkey potentially joining the EU, and ‘an easy deal that would keep us in the single market and take us out of it at the same time’. Declaring that those lies ‘were long ago extinguished’, he then claimed that ‘the threat of an EU army’, was the ‘one unslayable old canard’ that remained.

Emily Thornberry, 2016

In a pre-referendum speech in June 2016, the ardent Islington Europhile claimed that stating ‘Brussels bureaucrats’ were trying to ‘build up a continental army as part of their emerging superstate’ is ‘as true as saying that Elvis lives’.

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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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