Spy chiefs demand post-Brexit cooperation
Intelligence chiefs in the UK, France and Germany have issued an unprecedented public warning to EU politicians not to interfere with intelligence sharing after Brexit.
Speaking at the Munich Security conference, Alex Younger, head of Britain’s MI6, Bernard Emie, the director general of France’s DGSE, and Bruno Kahl of Germany’s BND, stressed that co-operation between the services was “indispensable”.
“Even after the UK’s exit from the EU close cooperation and cross-border information sharing must be taken forward on themes such as international terrorism, illegal migration, nuclear proliferation and cyber attacks,” a joint statement said.
It is feared Brexit could scupper anti-Islamist operations and preparation for cyber attacks from nations like Russia and North Korea. The EU relies heavily on British intelligence networks, including the Five-Eyes alliance between the UK, US, Canada, Australia and New Zealand.
Meanwhile, a poll carried out by ICM for the pro-EU Guardian suggested that, excluding those who declined to comment, a 16-point majority of voters wanted another referendum on Brexit.
Parliamentary groups that oppose Brexit are showing signs of uniting in an attempt to ensure a third European referendum (including the plebiscite in 1975), this time on the outcome of the Brexit process.
Conservative remain MPs Anna Soubry and Ken Clarke have proposed parliamentary amendments to the customs bill and the trade bill, which would keep the UK in the customs union.
The opposition Labour Party’s leadership is due to meet soon for talks which are hoped to bring a policy U-turn in favour of retaining customs union membership.
Also an amendment to the bill implementing the EU withdrawal agreement could make another referendum compulsory.
There is a debate about whether MPs would vote down or amend any deal Prime Minister Theresa May manages to agree by October.
Brexit negotiators are due to hold “technical” talks on the Northern Irish border in Brussels on Tuesday.
In December, London said there would be no hard Irish border and that cooperation with Dublin would be protected.
The commitments need to be signed off in a legally binding document before trade talks can begin.
London promised to continue to follow the rules of the EU customs union and single market to prevent a hard border if no alternative arrangement can be agreed.
Brexit “bulldog” David Davis has optimistically said there would only be three main areas where alignment would be needed, including agriculture.
He wants to address the border issue as part of a wider Brexit deal or else to have specific solutions for Northern Ireland.
Manchester police at a pro-EU march last year. Picture credit: Eurasia Times