Douglas Carswell

26 MAY 2016

Independence keeps Britain safe

Britain is among the top five military spenders in the world. We're a permanent member of the UN Security Council. We're the second power in NATO, behind the USA.

Our independent military power is what keeps us safe. But – as a dozen top ex-generals made clear yesterday – that's what's at risk if we stay in the EU.

Even the Remainers-in-chief can't deny that independence is the main thing keeping Britain secure. Asked about Trident at PMQs yesterday, George Osborne said: "For almost 70 years, our independent nuclear deterrent has provided the ultimate insurance for our freedom."

Which begs the question: why is he campaigning to give our military independence up?

It's no secret that the EU wants to create its own military to replace national defence forces. Angela Merkel has said it. Jean-Claude Juncker has said it. It's the obvious next step for 'ever-closer union.'

If we stay in the EU, we risk losing control of our defence forces. That won't just make Britain less safe, but Europe too.

Yesterday a group of British former generals launched the Veterans for Britain campaign to vote Leave. They made the point that Britain helps keep Europe safe, not the other way round.

After World War II, Europe was divided against itself along the Iron Curtain. Britain was the major NATO power this side of the Atlantic fighting to contain Communism. NATO, not the EU, kept the Soviets from invading Western Europe.

Today, the USSR may have collapsed, but our military standing hasn't. Britain and France are still the only countries in the EU capable of power projection. Through the Five Eyes agreement, we are still the EU's top intelligence-gathering power.

If we vote Leave, we'll still cooperate militarily with France – that's guaranteed by several bilateral treaties. We'll still use our top-class intelligence to help our European neighbours.

Why risk our military independence by voting Remain?

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