No deal Brexit to put UK, EU at greater risk, security minister warns

No deal Brexit would weaken EU-UK security cooperation, govt paper says.
No deal Brexit would weaken EU-UK security cooperation, govt paper says. Copyright BEN SABET /via REUTERS
By Alice Tidey
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If the UK crashes out of the EU without a deal it will be cut out from the bloc's databases on which DNA, fingerprints and information about suspects are shared.


A "no deal" Brexit would leave the UK and the European Union at greater risk, the UK's security minister has warned. 

In a speech to law enforcement and security leaders in London, British Security Minister Ben Wallace was set to argue that a no deal exit from the European Union would have a "real impact" on the UK's ability to cooperate closely with its European partners.

"The UK, through experience of the last few decades, has learnt that at the heart of effective security is close cooperation," Wallace will say, according to details of his upcoming speech shared by the Home Office. 

"A no deal situation would have a real impact on our ability to work with our European partners to protect the public.

His warning comes as a paper from the Department for Exiting the EU states that crashing out of the bloc without a deal would result in the UK losing access to EU databases in which criminal records, DNA, fingerprints, passenger information and alerts on wanted suspects are shared.

The UK would also be unable to issue European Arrest Warrants, which would result in a significant slow-down in the extradition process, and put further strain on the country's judicial and penitentiary systems.

Cooperation on counter-terrorism, cybersecurity and illegal migration would also be impacted.

"In a no deal scenario, it would be harder for the UK and the EU to work strategically to tackle these evolving threats," the paper says.

Wallace will also say the Brexit deal "sets the foundations for the most comprehensive security relationship the EU has ever had with a non-EU country." 

But Diane Abbott from the main opposition Labour Party said the government "has failed on our policing and security arrangements post-Brexit."

The UK is scheduled to leave the EU on March 29, 2019 after which, if the deal is approved, the UK and EU will enter a transition period. During that time further negotiations will be carried out of a range of issues not yet fully fleshed out, including security.

If MPs oppose the deal on December 11, the UK risks crashing out without a deal, which would abruptly cut its access to EU programmes when it officially leaves the bloc.

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