Blame for lack of security cooperation post-Brexit lies with government, Sajid Javid told
PUBLISHED: 14:37 04 June 2018 | UPDATED: 14:38 04 June 2018
Any lack of security cooperation post-Brexit will be the fault of "the government's pigheaded negotiating strategy", home secretary Sajid Javid was told today.
Mr Javid today issued a stark warning about the risk of weakening UK-EU ties on security, saying it would be "wrong and reckless" to advocate any "unnecessary reduction" in co-operation.
He described how all of the European counterparts he had met so far were in favour of continuing and even deepening links on counter-terrorism and law enforcement.
He said: "They rely so much on the intelligence and information we provide.
"There's not going to be a single European interior minister that would want to explain... after an attack, how it could have been stopped if the British had still been involved, perhaps with some secret intelligence.
"The benefits are both ways. We all benefit."
But Labour MP Virendra Sharma MP, a champion of the anti-Brexit Best for Britain group, said the government's policy was "putting our vital security co-operation at risk".
The MP for Ealing Southall said: "Organised crime and criminals do not stop at the cliffs of Dover, and Britain gains from being part of the European Arrest Warrant and Europol. Brexit and the government's pigheaded negotiating strategy, using security as a bargaining chip, is now coming back to bite them.
"Working together to catch criminals shows why we need to lead in Europe and not leave.
"For all these supposedly ‘law and order’ Conservatives to turn their backs on that shows how determined they are to pull up the drawbridge.
"They seem to want to go back to the bad old days of the Costa del Crime.”
A host of measures and tools have come under scrutiny following the referendum in 2016, and questions over post-Brexit arrangements intensified in the wake of terrorist attacks in the UK and Europe.
Senior figures in policing and counter-terrorism have highlighted the role played by the European Arrest Warrant, a legal framework introduced to speed up the extradition of individuals between member states; the Second Generation Schengen Information System (SIS II), a database of real time alerts; Europol, the EU's law enforcement agency; and the European Criminal Records Information System (ECRIS).
The government is seeking a bespoke deal on security co-operation with the EU.
A blueprint published last year called for a "comprehensive" framework to be underpinned by a new treaty.
Giving his first keynote speech on security since his appointment in April, Mr Javid said: "We have always been absolutely clear that although we voted to leave the European Union, we are as committed as ever to European security.
"We want, and we need, a deep and special security partnership with the EU after we leave. And the EU needs it too.
"There is not a single European interior minister who wants to reduce the level of co-operation on security that we have now.
"When the British people voted to leave the European Union, they were not voting for us to stop working with our European allies to keep everyone safe.
"So it would be wrong and reckless for anyone to advocate any unnecessary reduction in this co-operation."