No-deal Brexit 'could leave UK at risk from terrorism'

Security minister Ben Wallace says May’s deal ‘strikes right balance to keep everyone safe’

A no-deal Brexit would put both the EU and UK at greater risk from crime and terrorism, the security minister has said, as he insisted Theresa May’s deal would create a safer environment for the country.

Addressing the International Security Expo in west London, Ben Wallace said leaving the EU without an agreement would have a “real impact” on protecting the public. He said the Brexit deal secured by May “strikes the right balance to keep everyone safe”.

There is still a great deal of uncertainty around post-Brexit security arrangements with the home secretary, Sajid Javid, this week telling MPs there was no guarantee that data-sharing agreements and other cross-border crime-fighting tools would remain in place.

“The UK, through her experience of the last few decades, has learnt that at the heart of effective security is close cooperation,” he said. “And we and Europe know, from bitter experience, that often when there is a mistake or when something has been missed that we find, time and time again, that it has been due to a failure of cooperation.

“A no-deal situation would have a real impact on our ability to work with our European partners to protect the public.”

On Wednesday, a government paper said Britain would lose access to EU databases used by police to track terrorists and criminals in a no-deal scenario.

UK agencies would no longer be plugged into systems for exchanging data including criminal records, alerts on wanted suspects, DNA, fingerprints and airline passenger information. Extradition requests would take longer, while cooperation on counter-terrorism, cyber security and illegal migration would be affected.

In his speech, Wallace said the Brexit agreement secured by May sets the foundations for the most comprehensive security relationship the EU has ever had with another country.

The government says the future partnership will include the ability to exchange information on criminals and tackle terrorism, to quickly share data on people travelling to and from the UK to spot potential threats, to exchange DNA and fingerprints and to fast-track extraditions.

“This deal strikes the right balance to keep everyone safe,” Wallace said. “It will be an ambitious partnership that ensures we can continue to work with our European partners in tackling our shared threats.”


Jamie Grierson Home affairs correspondent

The GuardianTramp

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