The following question was asked of me at the EU referendum meeting tonight.
“Many people are concerned that our fluid EU borders are allowing potential Jihadists to flood Europe and the UK, but if we withdraw we lose access to intelligence networks. How does our involvement in the EU affect our security?”
The UK is a member of Interpol and shares vital intelligence with numerous security and police agencies, some in the EU, some not. It is clear the rest of Europe would continue to share intelligence and work closely with Britain even if it left the EU.
We’ve equally got good arrangements with countries that aren’t in Europe, particularly the Five Eye countries—America, Canada, Australia and New Zealand—with which we have incredible relationships. That’s not a product of the EU.
International security is a global issue that requires global cooperation, not a political union.
The reality is friendly nations share information. Security services and police forces have their own international networks.
Being in the EU is irrelevant to that.
We know that the EU’s Borders are porous.
Under the Schengen Agreement there are no internal borders. Once migrants enters the EU there is nothing to stop them freely moving from Athens to Antwerp under EU law.
When they have gained the right to settle in the EU, in time, they would have the legal right to reside in the UK.
While many asylum seekers are legitimate peacefull individuals, some are not, as we saw recently.
Dismantling national borders makes terrorism more likely, not less likely.
Last year the UK issued 697,000 new National Insurance certificates to new EU arrivals, equivalent to more than the entire population of Bristol.
Let’s be clear. We live in an increasingly dangerous world and we are witnessing clashes of cultures, which often erupts into violence.
Only by leaving the EU and co-operating, as we always have done with European nations as well as those beyond, while controlling our domestic borders and economic levers can the UK’s security be enhanced.