Boris Johnson is today reportedly highlighting his commitment to security.
Commenting, Jacqui Smith, former Home Secretary and leading supporter of the People’s Vote campaign, said:
“On matters of security it is important to be scrupulously honest. Anything else destroys public confidence and trust.
“From the outset a responsible Government should state that any form of Brexit will make security co-operation more difficult and hence carries at least some risk.
“Boris Johnson’s refusal to recognise this and to be honest with the people is disturbing as it suggests a deeper failure to understand what Brexit means for security.
“Even with Theresa May’s Withdrawal Agreement security co-operation would be weakened from the start, with the European Arrest Warrant scheme being disapplied to Germany, the biggest EU state and with other states having the right to opt out on the basis of their legal and constitutional requirements.
“And the further we get away from that proposal and the closer we get to No Deal, the more difficult it becomes.
“If, for instance, Boris Johnson decides, in his deregulation mania, to abolish the General Data Protection Regulation – the famous or infamous GDPR – then British police may not be able to share data on criminals with their continental counterparts for years, or even decades, to come. That is if it ever is allowed again. Constitutional protections on data sharing in many EU countries mean their courts demand the highest of standards and they are not likely to be impressed by a UK government that decides a race to the bottom for call centre business is to be the guiding principle of UK data protection law.
“It does not matter how sophisticated our armaments or security systems are if we do not have the intelligence to guide them. In a world of growing asymmetry between Western democracies and those who violently threaten our security and way of life, co-operation and data sharing can be the democracies’ best weapon. Damaging that weapon’s effectiveness to a greater or lesser extent is an unavoidable consequence of Brexit.
“Back in 2016 these matters were hardly discussed and whether people voted to leave or remain they are unlikely to have done so thinking about security matters. But now that it has become clearer what Brexit will mean, it is only fair and democratic that the people should be asked to have the final say on Brexit in a new referendum.”