Sajid Javid fails to reject claims UK will be ‘less safe’ under no-deal Brexit

Labour MP tells home secretary: ‘You are playing with fire and it is the British public who will get burnt’

Ashley Cowburn
Political Correspondent
@ashcowburn
Sunday 03 February 2019 16:51
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Home Secretary Sajid Javid: 'We will still be a very safe country'

Home secretary Sajid Javid has failed to reject claims that a no-deal Brexit will make the country less safe, as he admitted there would be a change in the UK’s security capabilities.

The cabinet minister’s remarks come after the head of the criminal records office, Rob Price, told The Independent that dangerous criminals could go free in Britain after it leaves the EU if police officers are unable to access European conviction records.

Appearing on the BBC, the home secretary was faced with comments from the former national security adviser Lord Rickets, who has previously said a no-deal Brexit would be a “really serious and immediate problem for British national security”.

Responding to the remarks, Mr Javid admitted it is “absolutely true” that “certain capabilities” will change under a disorderly exit from the bloc.

He added: “Databases, arrest warrant, others that will change. Of course that will change. And keeping that in mind, we have been working on meeting it, and I’m not pretending for a second, through Interpol or through the Council of Europe on extradition, you can have like-for like-capability. So there will be a change in capability.”

Asked whether the country would be “less safe”, Mr Javid noted that most of the mechanisms applied to the UK from 2015, but continued: “I’m absolutely certain as home secretary, this is my most important job, is to do everything I can to keep this country safe.

“I’m absolutely confident that we will continue to be one of the safest countries in the world, even in a no-deal scenario.”

Responding to Mr Javid’s remarks, the Labour MP David Lammy said: “If we crash with no deal, we will fall out of the EU’s crime-fighting agencies, be denied access to shared criminal records databases, and lose our right to use the European Arrest Warrant.

“You are playing with fire and it is the British public who will get burnt.”

Another Labour MP, Stephen Doughty, a supporter of the pro-EU group Best for Britain and a member of parliament’s Home Affairs Select Committee, also claimed: “The home secretary is now admitting what senior police chiefs and MPs have been warning for months – Brexit means less security at our borders not more – and no deal would leave this country even less safe.

“Theresa May’s threats of no deal are reckless and dangerous. The first duty of a government is to keep its citizens safe – and yet this government now has a policy which will do the opposite.”

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