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Wednesday, March 21, 2018

How Brexit is threatening our security

According to the Home Affairs Committee of the House of Commons, ministers are being 'worryingly complacent' about the complexity of issues to be negotiated with the EU regarding the future security of our country.

As the Independent reports, the committee believes that unless a deal is struck to maintain security and policing cooperation with the EU after Brexit, then the UK could be sleepwalking into a crisis. They say that there are “serious legal, constitutional and political obstacles” that mean an agreement will not be easy to reach, but failure to “urgently” resolve these issues will “seriously undermine” the UK’s security:

The committee said it was concerning that the EU has suggested the UK should lose its place on the Europol board until a deal is agreed, and accused the Government of being “worryingly complacent” about future data sharing.

The report said: “The Government appears to assume that the UK’s dominant role in Europol and other forms of cooperation will make it easy to secure a bespoke future security relationship with the EU, going far beyond any forms of third country involvement to date.

“This attitude, along with lack of planning for alternative scenarios, suggests that the Government is at risk of sleepwalking into a highly detrimental outcome.”

Failure to continue using the European Arrest Warrant and instead having to rely an earlier extradition treaty would be a “catastrophic outcome”, the committee said.

It called on the Government to begin negotiations on a security and policing treaty immediately, and said the UK should be willing to sacrifice its “artificial red lines”, including on the jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice.

The committee point out that that failure to secure a continuation of the European Arrest Warrant would prevent British authorities from being able to secure the extradition of criminals from EU countries for trial in the UK. It highlighted the case of Zdenko Turtak, who beat and raped a woman in Leeds in 2015. He fled to his native Slovakia before being extradited to the UK under the European Arrest Warrant and jailed for 14 years.

MPs also warned that establishing a new extradition arrangement is likely to run into a series of “significant judicial and legal obstacles”, including the fact that some EU countries, such as Germany and Slovakia, have laws that prevent them extraditing citizens to non-EU countries.

Some of us have been warning about this for some time. Negotiations with the EU are not just about trade but security, aviation, nuclear materials, the impact on the NHS and agriculture and medicine licensing just to name a few. I see little or no indication that our ministers understand this, never mind that they appreciate the complexity and urgency of reaching an agreement.
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