EXCLUSIVE : Labour’s manifesto plans “would hand UK’s defence on a plate to the EU”

“Starmer’s military plan has no place in British politics,” says defence report

Montage © Facts4EU.Org 2024

Under current Labour plans, the UK would sign a one-sided military treaty with the EU Commission

With Sir Keir Starmer about to launch the Labour Party manifesto, our new report shows just how damaging this would be for the defence of the Realm if it includes plans to align with the EU.

Under these plans, the UK would sign an unequal military treaty with the EU Commission. Today we call this out and explain it to British voters.

Brexit Facts4EU.Org Summary

Labour’s one-sided and dangerous defence treaty with the EU

Researched and written by defence analyst and former parliamentary researcher David Banks
and by members of the Brexit Facts4EU.Org team

Labour’s so-called ‘defence pact’ with the EU would undermine British sovereignty, harm our industry, and cancel our democratic decision-making.

Executive Summary

© BBC - click to enlarge

  • The arrangement proposed repeatedly by the EU is for ‘UK attachment’ to the EU’s three main military frameworks – the European Defence Agency, the European Defence Fund and Permanent Structured Cooperation.
  • This would emasculate UK defence and foreign policy independence. It was contained in Theresa May’s final sell-out deal put before Parliament and which senior Labour politicians John Healey and David Lammy now wish to emulate.
  • It is not simply participating in these structures which does the damage, but rather the ‘qualifying criteria’ required by the EU. These comprise a long list of pledges, political, and funding commitments to the EU which a Labour Government would have to make and maintain.

Below we look at the list required solely for ‘Permanent Structured Cooperation’ because it has been outlined by the EU in the most detail. It covers almost all of the commitments the UK would be obliged to make if it were to attach to all three of the EU’s military frameworks.

What does Keir Starmer’s Labour want us to sign up to?

“Closer UK-EU security co-operation through a new security pact can strengthen our shared capacity to respond to these threats and challenges.”

- Sir Keir Starmer, Munich Security Conference, Feb 2024

Photo right: Starmer bending the knee to BLM, 2020

The EU’s arrangement Labour apparently wants us to sign up to contains 21 separate commitments which the UK would have to make to the EU, as well as obeying its rules, decision-making processes, and funding structures.

These 21 commitments can be classified in five ways : Scrutiny, Adherence, Endorsement, Obligation, and Direction. We doubt Keir Starmer’s team has looked at this in any detail so below is a summary of the effect on the UK’s independence if we were to do what they propose. Of these 21 commitments:-

  • 18 would require the UK to accept EU scrutiny, allowing the EU to criticise or whip the UK if they decide we are not complying to their terms or contributing sufficiently to their aims or economic success.
  • 18 of the 21 require the UK to adhere to EU rules or positions.
  • 13 require the UK to endorse the very idea of the EU as a military decision-making authority or so-called EU sovereignty.
  • 12 require the UK to make a specific obligation to act in a permanent way towards participation, funding, political commitments or dialogue.
  • 8 have directional effects on UK Government processes, severely limiting the process of independent decision-making in the UK’s own interests.

The EU’s Common Security and Defence Policy and its demands on the UK

The 21 commitments encompass adherence to EU internal treaties as well as promises not to contradict the EU’s Common Security and Defence Policy. There are commitments which would compel the UK to make contributions to EU-governed military procurement programmes and funding for those programmes. There are also commitments which would require the UK to “contribute to the availability of forces” and the deployment of these forces.

“Given the difficult debates ahead with the US about defence burden-sharing it is ever more important that the UK develop closer foreign and security cooperation with the EU.”

- Shadow Foreign Secretary David Lammy, Foreign Affairs magazine, Apr 2024

The UK would be obliged to endorse the EU as a military actor and even agree to provide tangible contributions which enhance the operation of the EU’s Common Security and Defence Policy. The UK would also need to commit to sharing its secrets with the EU via a ‘Security of Information Agreement’. This would have serious consequences for the way the UK currently shares secrets with the anglosphere ‘Five Eyes’ intelligence community of the US, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand.

The commitments cross over and operate in unison, reinforcing EU control. Each commitment is subject to scrutiny and would require the UK to endorse EU methods, authority and processes. Non-compliance or falling short of a commitment is judged by the EU itself, with EU-imposed penalties.

For losing control of UK defence what would we get in return from the EU?

Labour has said nothing about what we would get from the EU, only vague statements about being shoulder-to-shoulder with our European ‘friends’. In reality the proposal contains references to EU treaties, agreements and rules, which in turn expand into a panoply of further commitments.

It is clear that Labour’s use of the term ‘pact’ is a misnomer. It is nothing but a one-sided treaty with the EU Commission covering defence, foreign policy, and defence procurement. It is an entirely one-sided treaty because it contains no reciprocal requirements for the EU to take UK rules. Absolutely none.

The overall effect would be the UK being taken back into the EU for the UK Government’s first responsibility – the defence of the Realm.


Labour’s plans would hand the UK’s defence on a plate to the EU

It is essential that Keir Starmer understands the significance, harms, and dangers of what his shadow cabinet colleagues have proposed. He should have ensured this EU military treaty never entered into his manifesto or plans, but we fear it’s now too late.

Starmer has pledged that he would not be putting the UK into the EU’s orbit. If proposals about an EU military treaty have made their way into Labour’s manifesto, it will be clear that he is not serious about that pledge and is willing to sell out the UK.

In this event it will be the obligation of all former Armed Forces personnel and everyone who cares about UK military sovereignty to tell as many people as possible that they must not and cannot vote Labour. It is as stark as that.

We must get reports like this out there

Reports like the one above take far longer to research, write and produce than many people realise. If they were easy, readers would see other organisations also producing these daily. However, there’s little point in the Facts4EU.Org team working long hours, seven days-a-week, if we lack the resources to promote them effectively – to the public, to MPs, and to the media. This is where you come in, dear reader.

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[ Sources: Labour statements to the Guardian, the BBC and others | EU Commission ] Politicians and journalists can contact us for details, as ever.

Brexit Facts4EU.Org, Tues 11 Jun 2024

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