Campbell: May’s speech shows that staying in the EU is best for Britain’s security

Lord Menzies Campbell gave the Lib Dem reaction to Theresa May’s speech on post-Brexit security:

Everything Theresa May said in this speech illustrated that being in the EU is the best way of securing our security objectives.

This was an opportunity for her to show some pragmatism. She could have shown willingness to compromise on the European Court of Justice so as to break the logjam on the European Arrest Warrant and to make sure we have access to Europol’s information.

The problem she has is that to decide is to divide – Conservative Brexiteers inside and outside her Cabinet will be up in arms over any pragmatic concession.

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  • Peter Martin 17th Feb '18 - 5:13pm

    It depends what you mean by security. The EU didn’t exactly cover itself in glory with its intervention in former Yugoslavia. The EU garrison (I won’t mention from which country) tasked with defending Srebrenica didn’t put up much, if any, resistance. In addition it has dithered on the Ukrainian issue. The EU succeeded in antagonising the Russians for no appreciable gain. If anything it gave the Russians the reason they were looking for to occupy the Crimea.

  • Richard Underhill 17th Feb '18 - 5:25pm

    The British defence minister was asked “How many troops will you provide?” and answered ‘70,000’ (almost the entire British army, at that time). He became secretary general of NATO,
    Eight soldiers in blue helmets were tested by a larger number of battle hardened troops. They could and should have called up air power to deter.

  • Richard Underhill 17th Feb '18 - 5:31pm

    Initially the Ukrainian soldiers marched unarmed to talk to their Russian-speaking socialist brothers.

  • “May’s speech shows that staying in the EU is best for Britain’s security”

    Right, but the referendum result, which politically speaking May HAS to implement, mandated that we leave the EU. So we have to have security arrangements outside the EU. I never thought Lord Campbell was an especially slow learner but something tells me that the penny hasn’t dropped for him…

  • No Rob Parker, the referendum didn’t mandate anything, however, various influential fringe elements of the Conservative party, being worried about UKIP and wanting to appear to be ‘in touch’ and spoiling for a fight, interpreted the result in a particular way, namely that the UK should leave the EU via the invocation of Article 50 et al.

    Having rushed into the invocation of Article 50, they are only now discovering the problems. If they had paused for thought, they would have realised the UK could leave the EU in exactly the same way as it left the EEC and joined the EU and thus satisfy ‘Brexit’. But then that leads us to their second problem, they don’t have a leader with a clear sense of purpose and as strong and determined as Margaret Thatcher…

    Otherwise, I would agree with you, Westminster had a political obligation to be seen to act on the referendum. What is notable, there is much the government could achieve in addressing the concerns raised in the referendum whilst remaining in the EU. Given we will be in the EU until at least Mar 2019 and then sort of in the EU whilst we ‘transition’, a key question has to be asked as to why the government hasn’t taken the steps that many, including the EU have pointed out they could take…

  • William Fowler 18th Feb '18 - 8:53am

    There is no political gain from using the security card, it is not a point that is going to change anyone’s mind on remaining or leaving. The govn did not rush into Article 50, BTW, although a good case could have been made for delaying it further so there was alignment with the end of the EU’s fiscal cycle, which should have been mentioned at the time of the referendum. Cameron ended up resigning because he was aware of how hardcore the EU’s reaction was to the referendum although he could have waved his magic wand by introducing a five year residence test before access to benefits, housing, tax credits tax allowance, etc (no EU permission needed if applied to Brits as well) and asked the populace for time to see its effect on immigration, which would have been massive at the lower end, especially if made retrospective and you had immigrant families moved to hostels and rough sleepers suddenly off the street in the vacant social housing.

  • David Evans 18th Feb '18 - 9:05am

    Roland, the Conservatives are even worse than that. From the date of the Referendum, 23 June 2016 to Theresa May’s invoking Article 50 on 29 March 2017, she had 8 months to investigate the problems – OK perhaps 3 weeks less as up to 13 July she was campaigning for the right to drive the hearse to the graveyard.

    The entire Conservative Party is a complete disgrace.

  • “The EU garrison (I won’t mention from which country) tasked with defending Srebrenica didn’t put up much, if any, resistance.”

    By contrast to the defence of Gorazde which probably has the lowest ration of remembrance to battle awards received of any Uk military action since WWII. Had they not been there there is little doubt that today we would talk of the Gorazde genocide rather than Srebrenica.

  • Peter Martin 18th Feb '18 - 11:41am

    @ Martin

    “When did the EU start having garrisons?”

    That’s rather the point. If we, or any other EU country, are going to start relying on the EU for security they are going to have to get themselves organised. They completely failed on the Bosnian intervention. Probably the Dutch garrison had no choice but to leave when they did because they were getting anywhere near the level of support they needed to prevent the massacre that occurred.

    The EU as a whole ended looking quite inept after that.

  • Peter Martin 18th Feb '18 - 2:19pm

    @ Martin,

    If the EU wants to be a viable entity, then it needs a common Govt, and an EU set of armed forces etc.

    I don’t know if that’s an “oddball” view, if so then people like Emmanuel Macron are oddballs too.

    But, do we want to be apart of it all? That’s what we need to ask ourselves?

  • Peter Martin 18th Feb '18 - 7:27pm


    I’m not sure what you’ve heard but Emmanuel Macron’s thoughts are recorded in print. He’s known as an integrationist and a Federalist. He’s said that “the Euro will fail in 10 years without reform”. The reform he has in mind is a “eurozone budget”. There has to be a EZ govt to be in control of that budget. Unless the EZ govt turns out just to be about unique in the world, the usual accessories of govt like armed forces etc will quickly follow. EM has clearly said that is what he has in mind.

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