MI6 boss Sir John Scarlett says leaving EU bad for national security

MI6 boss Sir John Scarlett says leaving EU bad for national security

September 30, 2020

‘Leaving the EU is BAD for our national security’: Former MI6 boss Sir John Scarlett says UK will have to cope with reduced intelligence on Islamic terror suspects after Brexit

  • Sir John Scarlett said there would be ‘capability loss’ when Brexit transition ends
  • Limited data sharing may weaken ability to ‘respond to the Islamic jihadi threat’ 
  • Britain can access information on Islamic threats through EU-wide databases 

Sir John Scarlett (pictured) said there would be a ‘degree of capability loss’ when the Brexit transition period ends

Britain will have to cope with reduced intelligence on Islamic terror suspects following our exit from the EU, the former head of MI6 warned yesterday.

Sir John Scarlett said there would be a ‘degree of capability loss’ when the Brexit transition period ends because the UK will no longer have access to European databases.

He added: ‘It’s almost impossible to avoid it. I’m not in a position to quantify that exactly and it’s important not to exaggerate it. It’s just a fact.’ 

And Sir John explained that limited data sharing will ‘potentially weaken our ability to respond to the Islamic jihadi threat’.

Britain can access information on Islamic threats through EU-wide databases. 

However, continued access to these sources has not yet been agreed as part of the Government’s transition negotiations with Brussels.

Sir John, who was boss of the Secret Intelligence Service from 2004 to 2009, added: ‘In terms of our overall security environment, the jihadi extremist threat is definitely still there. 

‘Last year in the EU I think there were 21 terrorist-related attacks. That of course includes the famous one on London Bridge. 

‘Now that threat has absolutely not gone away.’

Sir John said: ‘Last year in the EU I think there were 21 terrorist-related attacks. That of course includes the famous one on London Bridge’ (pictured, tributes to the victims) 

Speaking at an online event organised by the think tank Royal United Services Institute, Sir John warned: ‘You’ve only got to look at the situation in Iraq and Syria, for example, and also the spreading of capability into the Sahel and Central Africa.’

And Sir John and Sir Julian King, a former British EU commissioner, told the Times: ‘We need to find the most effective ways to work together with our partners, allies and neighbours to counter shared threats and to protect our future.’

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