Response to coverage of a Richard Dearlove letter in The Sun

Our response to several claims made by ex-MI6 chief Sir Richard Dearlove and Falklands War veteran Major General Julian Thompson, published in The Sun - 29 November 2018.


The ‘deal’ surrenders British national security by subordinating UK defence forces to Military EU control.


This is just simply wrong. The deal provides a flexible framework for us to work with the EU on foreign policy and defence, including in times of crisis. It gives us an option to co-operate in these areas. It does not create an obligation to do so.

The UK is leaving the EU's Common Security and Defence Policy, the European Defence Agency and all other EU defence structures. There will be no subordination. We will retain full sovereign control of our armed forces, and we will decide when and where we wish to co-operate.

The deal will enable us to work alongside the EU to tackle the most pressing global challenges and, for the UK, NATO will remain the cornerstone of European defence.


 The deal compromises UK intelligence capabilities.


It absolutely does not. The deal provides for exchange of intelligence between the UK and the EU to support our shared assessments of the threats facing Europe. The deal is clear that any intelligence sharing by the UK is entirely voluntary, and it includes a commitment that our national security will remain the sole responsibility of the UK.

The Five Eyes and bilateral intelligence relationships are vital for our national and international security and will remain the principle means of intelligence co-operation.


The only way to leave the EU is on World Trade Organisation (WTO) terms.


This is utter nonsense. A number of countries who are clearly not in the EU trade on better than WTO terms. For example, countries like Japan and South Korea have Free Trade Agreements with the EU, countries like Norway and Iceland trade within the EEA, and Turkey is in a customs union with the EU.

The Prime Minister’s deal is what’s in the national interests of the UK – it takes back control of our borders, money and laws while protecting jobs, security and the integrity of the UK.

It provides for an ambitious economic relationship, better than that which the EU has with any other country, preserving links in areas where the UK economy depends on just-in-time supply chains and thereby protecting jobs.

But it also provides for important regulatory autonomy and flexibility for the UK service sector, while at the same time establishing ambitious arrangements for services and investment, that go well beyond what we would have under WTO terms.

We should be clear - leaving and trading on WTO terms would mean leaving the EU with no deal. The government's analysis shows that the spectrum of outcomes for the future UK-EU relationship would deliver significantly higher economic output than that scenario. Every sector, nation and region would be better off with this deal than in a no deal scenario.

This deal also provides the broadest and most comprehensive security relationship the EU has with any third country, so it will help to keep our people safe. And a time-limited implementation period will ensure a smooth transition into a new partnership which, crucially, avoids the cliff edge that leaving the EU without a deal would create.


No £39 billion ransom should be paid.


This is a negotiated financial settlement that is a fair settlement of our obligations as a departing member of the EU. The National Audit Office also concluded that this was a reasonable estimate.

And it is much lower than other estimates we’ve seen, such as £100 billion.

Find out more information on the Brexit Deal Explained website.

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