No-deal Brexit poses risk to safety

MPs have raised concerns about security relations with the EU post-Brexit
Photo: PA / Jonathan Brad

MPs have raised concerns about security relations with the EU post-Brexit Photo: PA / Jonathan Brady - Credit: PA Archive/PA Images

MPs have warned lives are at risk if Britain crashes out of Europe without a deal.

In a brutal assessment of preparations being made for security relations with the EU post-Brexit, the Commons Home Affairs Committee said both sides were behaving 'recklessly'.

The report pinpointed Theresa May's decision to rule out European Court of Justice jurisdiction and the 'disappointingly rigid' approach to negotiations by Brussels as contributing to a risk of the UK being locked out of EU databases, losing access to the European Arrest Warrant and having a reduced influence in Europol.

In a strongly-worded report the MPs said:

• Losing access to the second-generation Schengen Information System (SIS II) database would be 'calamitous';

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• Being forced to rely on the 1957 Convention on Extradition instead of the EAW would be a 'catastrophic outcome';

• A no-deal Brexit would be 'the most unthinkable of outcomes';

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• Without contingency plans 'the safety and security of UK and EU citizens will be put at serious and unnecessary risk'.

The MPs added: 'We express serious concerns about the lack of progress in the negotiations to date; the impact on security co-operation of the government's 'red lines', including the jurisdiction of the ECJ; the disappointingly rigid EU negotiating position; and the very real prospect of the UK losing access to SIS II, which is vital to our law enforcement and border security capabilities.

'We believe that both the EU and the UK government need to show more flexibility, and give greater priority to getting an early agreement that continues existing policing and security co-operation; otherwise, they will recklessly undermine security in both the UK and the EU, and will let the public down badly.'

The committee's Labour chairwoman Yvette Cooper said: 'Both sides are putting political red lines ahead of public safety and national security - that is completely irresponsible.

'We have a shared interest in continued close policing co-operation, which people in Britain and across the EU would want and expect to continue after Brexit.

'But at the moment, political posturing on both sides is putting that at risk.'

She warned a no deal scenario would 'stop the police sharing crucial information on dangerous international criminals, stop border officials getting urgent information on criminals trying to enter the country, undermine investigations into trafficking, terrorism, organised crime and slavery, jeopardise trials and justice for victims, and let criminals go free'.

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