POLITICALLY SPEAKING: Andrea Jenkyns MP ‘Brussels attack was a tragedy’

Andrea Jenkyns, Conservative MP for Morley and Outwood.
Andrea Jenkyns, Conservative MP for Morley and Outwood.

The world has been rocked over the last couple of weeks by significant acts of terror in Brussels.

It was truly a tragedy and my heart goes out to everyone who is affected, especially those who have lost friends and loved ones.

A week on from the attack, and I know some have already talked about the issues, I wanted to write about why I think voting to Leave the European Union will make the United Kingdom safer from these barbaric attacks.

We cannot deny that the threat we face now from this sort of terrorism is unprecedented.

Yes, previous attacks have been arguably greater in magnitude, but they are now coming closer and closer to home, as well as disturbingly more frequent.

This Government has taken some very welcome steps to help keep Britain safe.

Our historic commitment to meet the NATO target of spending two per cent of our GDP on Defence means our Armed Forces can be properly funded and equipped, and ready to protect Britain from the myriad of different threats that we face in the twenty first century.

Spending on the police and counter-terrorism is also protected.

However, I disagree with the multitude of voices from Government saying that we are safer inside the EU.

Our view of defence has always been global, not European. The most significant intelligence-sharing relationship we enjoy is the Five Eyes partnership with the United States, Canada, New Zealand and Australia.

Britain has the best security forces in the world and also the most historic.

The US modelled their spying service on our own from our experiences of co-operation in the Second World War.

We are a trusted ally for many countries.

The contrast with Europe could not be sparser.

Falling spending on defence caused by the economic crisis means many countries simply do not have security forces that all our allies will happily give information to.

There is also little security expertise in Brussels.

We are leaving ourselves more exposed by risking turning our backs on our global partners and focusing on the EU.

Leaving the EU does not mean we automatically be cut off from the continent when it comes to intelligence sharing.

It is almost laughable to suggest that if the German intelligence authorities found out about a pending attack on Britain they wouldn’t tell us.

It is in the common interest of both Britain and the EU to have robust arrangements for intelligence sharing in place, not least because the UK is an essential ally, with all the tools we have at our disposal.

Leaving the EU would be our chance to secure our own borders, take control of our own defence, and work with our global partners to get the best deal for Britain.

It is the essence of the argument that we must Vote Leave and Take Control.

My office on Queen Street is now open again as usual. Do drop in if there is anything I can help you with or email me on andrea.jenkyns.mp@parliament.uk.