Yesterday we learned of a most explosive letter. It was written by Sir Richard Dearlove, former head of MI6, and by Lord Charles Guthrie, former Head of the Armed Forces. It was sent to the chairmen of local Tory Party associations and subsequently got into the hands of SKY News.
They argue that Ms May’s deal would threaten our national security. You can see a legible copy of their letter here, with the inevitable refutation by Ms May’s spokesperson. Alternatively, see this tweet by Owen Paterson:
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” pic.twitter.com/HGTWHggQes
— Owen Paterson MP (@OwenPaterson) January 10, 2019
This is no idle threat by some veteran Brexiteers. Their argument cannot be refuted, show by news from Germany further down:
“The withdrawal agreement “threatens to change our national security policy by binding us into new sets of EU-controlled relationships. 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: membership of NATO, our close bilateral defence and intelligence relationship with the USA, and the Five Eyes intelligence alliance.The first duty of the state, above trade, is the security of its citizens. The Withdrawal Agreement abrogates this fundamental contract and would place control of aspects of our national security in foreign hands. Please ensure that your MP votes against this bad agreement and supports a sovereign Brexit on WTO rules, without payment of ransom.” (Source)
Sir Richard Dearlove writes in today’s DT to emphasise why Ms May’s WA is pernicious, with a dig at the current Brexit debate in the HoC and the MSM:
“At this late stage in the Brexit debate, it has become dominated by discussions of the economic risks of leaving the EU to trade on WTO terms, the behaviour of Westminster protesters and the antics of the Speaker. In the midst of this, we are losing sight of a far greater issue: the very real risks to our national security were Theresa May’s Withdrawal Agreement to be agreed by Parliament. Her deal – which the Government still maintains amounts to “taking back control” – would in reality erode our ability to take charge of our own affairs while putting at risk our place at the heart of Nato and the functioning of the vital Five Eyes information sharing alliance (made up of the UK, US, Canada, Australia and New Zealand).”
He explains that Ms May’s deal would
“ […] serve to cut across the three fundamentals of our national security policy: membership of Nato, our close bilateral defence and intelligence relationship with the US, and the Five Eyes intelligence alliance. Were the UK to participate in EU defence frameworks in the way Mrs May proposes, it would entail onerous conditions. These would likely include full adherence to EU defence policy, and the high likelihood of having to become a “rule-taker” on intelligence, space, financial contributions and the European Defence Agency. It is surely not acceptable for us to agree to such terms when, during all our time as an EU member, we have managed to avoid such obligations.”
It seems though that neither Ms May’s Government nor the Whitehall Remainer Mandarins nor indeed the Remain MPs are much fussed about this threat. They’d rather scare us into obedience by more and more ludicrous ‘Project Fear’ variations. Now see the latest evidence from none other than the German Minister for Defence, Ursula von der Leyen, who reportedly said:
“Europe “needs to improve its ability to act on behalf of its own security” at a time of global uncertainty, adding major progress has been made towards realising a joint defence force. Like the development of the EU’s single market and free movement principle, developing a European army will take time, […] Europe’s army is already taking shape. Reforms over the past months and years have brought our armed forces closer together. We’re working quickly.” (Source)
She said further that “Germany and France are ‘driving forces’ in European defence and the two countries would assist each other in the event of an armed territorial attack”, also mentioning that 25 armies are working together:
“One such project, adopted in late November, involves France, Belgium and Cyprus developing a Beyond Line of Sight Land Battlefield missile systems family. Another project, adopted in March last year, involves Greece, Italy and Slovakia developing and building a prototype European Armoured Infantry Fighting Vehicle.” (see here).
Surely, given the terms of the WA, even the fiercest Remainer must recognise the implications!
One other aspect is worth keeping in mind when looking forward to the vote next week: Ms May is standing alone. Her cabinet colleagues prefer to jockey for positions to replace her. This report on a leaked letter from the No 10 Comms Director, lambasting certain cabinet Ministers, illustrates it nicely. An essay by Paul Goodman with the title ‘This rotting Cabinet’ emphasises Ms May’s dilemma, arguing that she doesn’t have the “Plan B” demanded by the Grieve Amendment (see yesterday’s column). He concludes:
“Cabinet members are united on one point, however. All now hope that May’s deal passes Parliament, if not next week, then later. And, collectively, they will carry on hoping – as authority drains away from them to Dominic Grieve, Steve Baker, and the Opposition, among whose numbers we of naturally include the Speaker. This Cabinet is firewood.” (My emphasis)
That is the stark reality as we face the weekend before ‘The Vote’.
As for Jeremy Corbyn and Labour – pundits say he’s only interested in getting a GE, the now predicted loss of Ms May of the Brexit vote only being the means to achieving this (e.g. here). Sir John Redwood’s diary entry today on Corbyn and Labour is, as always, worth reading. But will Corbyn actually be able to lead the Nation regardless of Brexit – or will he be a puppet for his Labour colleagues? Hm … one is allowed to have one’s doubts.
Our Government and our Parliament have not just wasted our Nation’s time, they are even now, five minutes before midnight, more interested in pushing through their own personal, power-hungry agendas than having regard to the true dangers into which they have placed our Nation with their shenanigans.