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Brexit

Security Chiefs Would 'Despair' If Parliament Prevents Brexit Deal, Minister Says

Security minister Ben Wallace said an agreement would enable the Government to continue providing them with the resources they need.

Houses of Parliament.

Security and intelligence chiefs would "despair" if Parliament prevents Theresa May from finalising a Brexit deal with the EU, a minister has claimed.

Security minister Ben Wallace said the agencies tasked with protecting the UK "want us to get on with delivering a Brexit".

He said that delivering the Prime Minister's Withdrawal Agreement - twice rejected by MPs by large majorities - would enable the Government to continue providing them with the support and resources they need.

(Picture: Crown Copyright).
(Picture: Crown Copyright).

Mr Wallace told BBC Radio 4's Today programme: "This morning I will meet the intelligence services and I will meet the police and all the people who protect us.

"They want us to get on with delivering a Brexit.

"They are professionals and they are looking after our safety, and if I were to look them in the eye and say:

"Should we just headlong fall into a collapse in Government or a collapse in Parliament? They would just despair."

"We are here to give them the support and resource they need as a Government, and voting for the deal is the way we will continue to be able to do that and how we will break from Europe."

In response, former Director of Communications for the Labour Party and prominent Remain supporter Alastair Campbell called Mr Wallace's comments "absolute nonsense".

"Security is weakened by this blind Brexit and it is a scandal he claims to speak for them all," he said.

(Picture: MOD).
(Picture: MOD).

Last month, a defence think-tank warned the UK's security could be "significantly weakened" by a no-deal Brexit.

The Royal United Services Institute (RUSI) said if the UK leaves the EU without a deal, it would lose access to more than 40 different security information systems and databases.

It said the UK and EU must negotiate a bespoke security deal, otherwise both sides could be at risk.

In January, it was confirmed reservists in the British military could be called out on operations if there is a no-deal Brexit.

Commanding officers will be able to send 'call out' notices to personnel if requested by government departments.

(Picture: Crown Copyright).
(Picture: Crown Copyright).

Defence minister Tobias Ellwood has previously said contingency planning is the "key priority" for the Ministry of Defence.

Mr Ellwood spoke to Forces News during an event to mark RAF Marham becoming the military’s first green airbase.

"It has to be the key priority for the moment because that is the legal default position that we find ourselves in if there is no deal," he said.

"But to not contingency plan would be irresponsible and that’s why the MOD is making us plan."

Mr. Ellwood said in January he would resign if the United Kingdom leaves the European Union without a deal.