Former MI6 head Sir Richard Dearlove and previous chief of the defence staff Lord Guthrie have written to Conservative association chairs claiming the EU withdrawal agreement threatens national security. They urge Tory constituency bosses to order their MPs to vote against Theresa May’s Brexit deal. They write: “Please ensure that your MP does not vote for this bad agreement.”
In their letter, Sir Richard – ex chief of the secret intelligence staff – and Lord Guthrie claim the Prime Minister’s Brexit deal would surrender the UK’s forces and intelligence services to EU control. Also they protest that it would damage the UK’s relationship with NATO, the US, and the leading Commonwealth security and intelligence partners Canada, Australia and New Zealand.
A copy of the letter is published in full below:
Note that on the 29th November, Sir Richard, along with pro-Brexit campaigners Sir Rocco Forte, Martin Howe QC, Lord Lawson, Lord Trimble and former Royal Marines chief Major General Julian Thompson, wrote to the prime minister. And at the time, Downing Street said the claims that Mrs May’s deal would threaten UK national security and surrender influence on defence and intelligence to the European Union were “simply wrong”.
But that rebuff has prompted Sir Richard and Lord Guthrie to claim the first letter “touched a raw nerve” in Number 10 and write to Tory association chair urging them to put pressure on Conservative MPs. The intervention comes just days before MPs are due to vote on Mrs May’s divorce deal, next Tuesday. The UK is due to leave the EU on 29 March 2019, by default.