Outrage at UK joining EU army as MP pinpoints ‘exact opposite’ reason for Brexit

MPs warn government about EU army

Brexiteer MPs clashed with ministers today in the House of Commons as the Government refused to rule out taking further steps towards joining an EU army.

The issue was raised by Reclaim MP Andrew Bridgen, who was one of the Tory Brexiteer spartans before he was expelled from the Conservatives, in tense scenes in the Commons.

He questioned why the UK has agreed to sign up to part of the EU’s Permanent Structured Cooperation (PESCO) – often termed by critics as the EU army – on moving military across Europe.

The North West Leicestershire MP said: “Sir Richard Dearlove, former head of MI6, has given evidence to House Committees on this issue and he questioned why we were joining this and who had authorised it.

“He also stated that membership of these European Union defence structures is not an à la carte menu where the UK can choose what it wants and reject what it does not.”

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He added: “It is very much a take it or leave it, all or nothing, situation. Does the Minister agree with Sir Richard’s assessment?”

But Armed Forces Minister James Heappey suggested that Mr Bridgen is “a conspiracy theorist”.

He said: “The UK applied to join the permanent structured co-operation military mobility project to help shape EU military transport procedures and infrastructure, addressing impediments to moving military personnel and assets across Europe at pace.

“We are negotiating the technical terms of our participation in the form of an administrative arrangement and have reached an agreement on the majority of the text.”

He added: “Conspiracy is not as rife as the honourable Gentleman seems to think.

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“We can indeed choose which parts of the permanent structured co-operation we wish to be in, and the mobility projects, which co-ordinate the development of infrastructure for the movements of NATO weapons and platforms across Europe, seem to be a pretty good thing on which the UK should seek to co-operate with the EU.”

But the issue got more fraught when Conservative former Brexit minister David Jones intervened.

He demanded to know whether the Government would rule out joining any of the other 60 strands of PESCO.

But Mr Heappey refused to give a guarantee.

He said: “We will consider those elements on a case-by-case basis.

“Where there is merit and where it is in the UK’s interests to work with the European Union to the advantage of NATO and our own national interest, we will, of course, do so.

“However, we will do so not blindly out of habit, but only where it is in our interests.”

The response infuriated Mr Jones who warned that it risked dragging the UK militarily into the EU.

Afterwards, he told Express.co.uk: “We have to remember that the keyword in PESCO is ‘permanent’.

“It means we become part of an agreement we cannot leave.

“While there may be some sense in doing that in regards to military mobility it is hard to see any further extension of that relationship by joining other strands of PESCO as anything other than a reduction in British sovereignty.

“That is the exact opposite of what people voted for in the 2016 EU referendum.”

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