Former Chief of the Secret Intelligence Service Richard Dearlove and the former Chief of Defence Staff Charles Guthrie warned the agreement would “threaten the national security of the country in fundamental ways,” in a letter to chairmen of May’s Conservative Party local associations. The letter, published by Sky News, reads: ”Buried in the agreement is the offer of a ‘new, deep and special relationship’ with the EU in defence, security and intelligence which cuts across the three fundamentals of our national security policy,” said the letter, which Sky News published on its website.
Both Mr Dearlove and Mr Guthrie supported Brexit ahead of the 2016 referendum in which Britain voted to leave, arguing that quitting the EU would be better for Britain’s defence and security.
“Please ensure that your MP (Member of Parliament) votes against this bad agreement and supports a sovereign Brexit on WTO rules,” their letter said.
Britain’s Security Minister Ben Wallace said in November that leaving the EU without a deal would jeopardize cooperation with the bloc and affect the ability to keep the public safe.
He said: “If we reject the current deal and go back to square one, this will open the door to far greater uncertainty, increased risk and the prospect of downgrading our ability to protect the public.”
Staunch Tory Brexiteer Owen Paterson MP backed up the calls.
He wrote on Twitter: “Devastating warning from former head of MI6 Sir Richard Dearlove and former Chief of the Defence Staff Lord Guthrie. ‘The Withdrawal Agreement… would place control of aspects of our national security in foreign hands.’”
It comes as pressure grows on Mrs May ahead of next week’s vote.
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn today called on MPs to help his party “break the deadlock” over Brexit and support his call for a motion of no confidence in the government to trigger an election.
Pledging to vote against Prime Minister Theresa May’s deal next week, Corbyn said only a Labour government could secure an accord with the European Union that would re-unite Britain, a move that would, he acknowledged, most probably require an extension of the Brexit talks with Brussels.
Parliament is deadlocked over how to proceed with Brexit, Britain’s biggest shift in foreign and trade policy in more than 40 years, and is expected to vote against May’s deal on Tuesday plunging the departure from the EU into deeper uncertainty.
With less than three months before Britain leaves the EU, May has warned lawmakers if they do vote down her deal, they would be opening the way for a disorderly exit or for Brexit not to happen at all.
Mr Corbyn said if May had confidence in her deal, she should “call that election and let the people decide”.
“If the government cannot pass its most important legislation then there must be a general election at the earliest opportunity,” he told journalists and workers in the northern English city of Wakefield.
“Clearly, Labour does not have enough MPs in parliament to win a confidence vote on its own. So members across the House (of Commons) should vote with us to break the deadlock,” he said, adding Labour would call a vote of no confidence when it had the greatest chance of success.
Downing Street hit back at the claims. Officials said the defence chiefs were “completely wrong” and added Mrs May’s Brexit deal offers a broad security arrangement with the EU.