Labour’s ‘dangerous’ defence plan ‘will take Britain into an EU army’

Mr Lammy, who was an ardent Remainer campaigner and once claimed Brexiteers were “worse than Nazis”, is known for his desire to take Britain back into a closer relationship with Brussels.

The article states: “Labour will seek a new EU-UK security pact to complement NATO ties, bolstering our continent’s safety.”

It has raised concerns too about the recent secret summit hosted by Michael Gove on Brexit which included current former Whitehall officials who have been pushing the EU army agenda.

It goes on: “The Labor government will seek to institutionalize our cooperation through a structured dialogue at both the political and official levels, enabling ministers and experts to exchange ideas and information more freely and at a regular paceā€”much like the kind of deep and structured relationship we currently enjoy with the United States and France.”

The two shadow cabinet ministers added: “New mechanisms of security cooperation between Britain and the EU can help tackle increasing threats, growing Russian aggression, and new challenges from China.”

While Mr Lammy followed the line set by Labor leader Sir Keir Starmer that his party would not take Britain back into the EU single market or customs union under Brussels rule, opponents warned the plans he and Mr Healey set out on defense and security were a sign that that is the real goal.

Former Armed Forces Minister Mark Francois, now chairman of the European Research Group (ERG) of Tory Brexiteer MPs, said: “There are hardly any Leavers left in the entire Labor Parliamentary Party these days, which partly explains why their defense planning is leaning further towards the EU, when we should be bolstering NATO instead.

“Sir Keith Starmer remains a Remainer at heart – and now you’re even seeing that reflected in their defense policy as well.”

Former Brexit Minister David Jones, deputy chairman of the eRG, warned that the plans were “dangerous”.

He said: “Of course they will try to say that we will be part of the EU forces and NATO but in reality that’s not going to happen.

“It’s very clear from that article that they are pushing us towards an EU Army and that is the end game.

“NATO has underpinned our security now for decades and anything that undermines that alliance will be very dangerous for Britain.”

He added: “When I was a [Brexit minister] I always resisted attempts to integrate our forces with the EU’s for that reason at meetings in Brussels.”

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Previously, there were concerns from Brexiteers that a recent meeting hosted by Mr Gove at Ditchley Park in Oxfordshire on improving Brexit had an agenda to consider moves towards an EU army.

As well as being attended by Mr Lammy and Mr Healey it included Angus Lapsley, currently the NATO assistant secretary general for defense policy and planning, a former MoD official who Brexiteers have previously accused of pushing an EU army agenda and pleaded with Foreign Secretary James Cleverly not to appoint to NATO.

Added to that there are ongoing concerns the UK’s current cooperation with the Permanent Structured Cooperation Agreement (PESCO) and Defense and Security Public Contracts (DSPCR) arrangements is already paving the way for a common European defense force with British involvement.

Mr Jones said: “PESCO in particular is a very dangerous development and really something we should not be involved in.”

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A source close to Mr Healey and Mr Lammy dismissed the accusations saying: “There is absolutely nothing in the article that even vaguely suggests the EU army.”

The article came as the two shadow cabinet ministers took part in the annual Muncih security conference which was also attended by Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and Defense Secretary Ben Wallace.

The conference was dominated by the war in Ukraine with Labor also saying this was the reason for a rethink on defense strategy and cooperation.

They said: “Labour will never be complacent about the next election, but across Britain there is a huge appetite to get rid of the Conservative government.

“The next Labor government will ensure Britain is NATO’s leading European nation.”

They also insisted: “We would apply a ‘NATO test; to major defense projects within our first 100 days to ensure we are on track to fulfill our obligations to the alliance in full and review any capability gaps. There will also be no change under Labor in UK leadership within the Joint Expeditionary Force.”

But they added: “The current Conservative government’s post-Brexit blind spot on Europe, exemplified in the 2021 Integrated Review, must be corrected, and the UK should rebuild relationships with our European allies to make Brexit work.”



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