- Unpublished paper warned Brexit would make it more difficult for the UK to collaborate with EU nations in tackling terrorism, according to The Times. The document was not published after the Remain campaign was accused of playing on voter fears doing the EU referendum. The Lib Dems said Theresa May must now explain “what Brexit will mean for our security and fighting crime.”
A government paper, warning how Britain could be more vulnerable to terrorism and crime after leaving the European Union, was suppressed after the Remain campaign was accused of playing on voter fears, The Times reported.
The Home Office document – which was drawn up alongside MI5 and MI6 officials – warned that security cooperation between the UK and EU would be slower, less effective, and more expensive after Britain left the 28-member bloc.
“Co-operation with EU countries would continue if the UK were to leave the EU,” the 49-page unpublished paper said, according to The Times.
“But none of the tools for co-operation EU countries have available with countries outside the EU match the speed, efficiency, and cost-effectiveness of the tools that are available for co-operation between EU members.”
The Home Office declined to comment, while 10 Downing Street did not immediately respond to Business Insider’s request for comment.
The leaked document also warned that leaving the EU would mean losing access to the Schengen Information System, a database providing police and border agents with alerts on wanted criminals, suspected terrorists, missing people, and stolen or missing property.
It also warned that Britain would no longer be part of the European Arrest Warrant (EAW), which is valid only across EU countries. Extraditing suspects and criminals to non-EU countries typically costs £62,000 ($79,000), as opposed to £13,000 to countries under the EAW.
The paper was drawn up in the run-up to the EU referendum last year and then dropped because of the political backlash against “project fear,” a nickname given to a Remain campaign tactic of highlighting the security and economic risks of leaving the EU.
Theresa May, who was home secretary at the time, oversaw the document, The Times said. May’s official position during the referendum was Remain, but was not vocal in her support for the campaign.
Then-Prime Minister David Cameron did warn last year that leaving the EU would jeopardise “peace and stability” in Britain and Europe.
“Can we be so sure that peace and stability on our continent are assured beyond any shadow of doubt? Is that a risk worth taking? I would never be so rash as to make that assumption,” he said last May.
Five former secretaries-general of NATO supported Cameron’s remarks. In a joint letter to The Telegraph at the time, they wrote: “Brexit would undoubtedly lead to a loss of British influence, undermine NATO and give succour to the West’s enemies just when we need to stand shoulder-to-shoulder across the Euro-Atlantic community against common threats, including those on our doorstep.”
In an emailed statement, Ed Davey, the Liberal Democrat shadow home secretary, said May “must now explain” why her department did not publish the paper before the Brexit vote.
“Since the referendum, the Prime Minister has let down the public with weak platitudes designed to buy off hard-right Conservative Brexiteers,” Davey wrote.
“She must now come clean on what Brexit will mean for our security and fighting crime. How many other reports like this are Conservative Ministers hiding from the British public?”