Brexit is one thing, but behind the scenes the UK has been moving towards ever closer military union with the EU. UKIP's defence spokesman Ben Walker urges vigilance
The Conservatives have been elected on a promise to ‘Get Brexit Done’ but this is no time to be complacent.
For instance, where defence is concerned, what implications are there for the UK’s Armed Services and an ever closer integration into an EU Defence Force? Unfortunately, for us this remains an immediate and urgent threat.
The UK has been joining schemes at an EU Council of Ministers level since the Referendum. These commit us to merging decision-making powers at EU level, often incentivised financially after payment from member states is obtained.
The areas covered include budget priorities, equipment development, purchasing, intelligence sharing and global communications.
Powers include foreign intervention which could be decided within the framework of the Common Security and Defence Policy (ESDC).
This was all done by stealth, over time, to draw less attention to what was going on.
The principal danger for the UK is the loss of sovereignty arising from joint decision-making. And that’s not something that is going away with the moves over Brexit. The risk will continue because we will stay in the agreements for at least the duration of any transition period and potentially longer.
The Theresa May deal placed the UK unquestioningly and permanently into these agreements, but the Boris Johnson exit and future treaty keeps the possibility open, delaying a decision until a 2020 transition period when the EU would be in a position to exercise its power and combine any arrangements with discussions over future trade.
MPs could find themselves making decisions over policy and funding of defence believing it to be just a side issue without fully appreciating the uncomfortable and far-reaching consequences.
They need to be aware of the speed and the breadth of EU policy development in defence that has gone on SINCE the Referendum.
The Armed Forces are still at risk and UKIP continues to shine a spotlight on the issues to prevent the Government and the Civil Service eroding our capabilities and independence even further behind closed doors, buried in briefing papers MPs will never read.
Ben Walker is UKIP’s Defence spokesman