It is looking a little more likely every day that the UK will finally leave the European Union, but we must not use the Theresa May Brexit Withdrawal Agreement to do it.


After reviewing today's press, I'm getting a little more optimistic that the UK will be leaving the EU on World Trade Organisation (WTO) terms on the currently set date of 11 pm on the 29th March 2019.

But the dangers still exists and a proper exit of the UK from the EU is still not assured. Not while the Remainers cause still draws breath and not while Theresa May can keep at least an appearance that her deal is still a viable offer.

On the first, the Remainers' cause has definitely hit the rocks in that it cannot muster support for a second referendum where it counts – in the House of Commons and, in the face of a groundswell of public support for an immediate WTO Brexit, they can only manage what is in effect a protest vote amongst MPs against a no-deal Brexit – even with the help of a constant torrent of no-deal armageddon propaganda.

So, for the moment the Remain campaign is definitely deflated and you can see that in their faces.

But as to the other danger to Brexit, May's so-called deal, which as we all know is not a deal at all, there is still a risk that with clever management Theresa May might just be able to pull it off and get the votes required to get her deal through.

I say this because in a choice between a no deal WTO exit from the EU or Theresa May's deal, many MPS may very grudgingly opt for what they see as the lesser of two evils.

And this may happen even after the EU rejects all attempts to renegotiate it. In the end the PM could come back and find that a combination of her doggedness and EU intransigence has done its job on our weak-willed parliament – backstop or no backstop.

And that would be a colossal mistake on the part of our MPs should they do so.

They have just about to a man and woman, sucked up the fallacy that the only thing wrong with the PM's Withdrawal Agreement is the Irish border backstop.

The backstop has dominated all discussion and drowned out questions about any other aspect of this agreement.

And right at the top of the list of questions is the issue of national defence.

In a recent report for Veterans for Britain, called 'Brexit's Troubled Flank: The Departure Deal and EU Defence Integration', Colonel Richard Kemp and Dr Lee Rotherham show how current UK government Brexit policy will keep the UK within the gravitational pull of the EU's future military integration plans. To put it simply, we will be pulled into the EU army, despite Brexit.

And the writers say there are four key threats to UK defence from being tied too closely to EU defence structures.

Now, just to remind everyone, the country voted to leave the EU in 2016 to become an independent and sovereign nation state.

That means we will want to pursue our own trade policies, our own foreign policies as well as decide for ourselves who supplies us with our defence equipment and if, when and where it is deployed.

So, with that in mind, wouldn't it be a bit idiotic to keep our defence industry inside an EU single market in defence where Brussels tells us what we can buy, what we can order and where it will be made and to what specifications? But May's Withdrawal Agreement keeps us within this sphere of influence.

But our civil servants and some ministers seem to be of the opinion that an independent defence policy doesn't matter. All that matters to them is the thought that being joined with the EU on defence will allow economies of scale to keep our defence costs down.

I say our total independence where matters of defence of the realm are concerned, are of paramount importance. Also, once the EU has its teeth fully into defence I reckon those savings will prove illusory as costs and EU dominance spiral out of control.

Wouldn't it also be stupid for the UK to have to pay into an EU defence budget, probably siphoning money away from what I see as more important UK theatre requirements?

Once again, May's proposals get us embroiled in this.

And how could it be sensible for the UK, with its own unique defence requirements, to get itself involved in the EU Permanent Structured Cooperation (PESCO) that is headed towards competing with NATO? Structures that would control how, when and where we operate.

May's agreement keeps us involved.

And finally, how inane would it be for an independent global country like the UK, to tie itself into the EU based generation of common assets and common units – like Battle Groups? With the result that we may well not be able to operate unilaterally?

Once again, this Withdrawal Agreement would tend to draw us into that mess.

Our government, says the report, is running a Brexit policy on defence that aspires to being institutionally close to the entities pursuing this ever closer military integration process. And, say the authors, all of this will eventually cause irreparable damage to the unique defence relationship between the UK and the US.

I would also add that effectively handing over control of our defence policy to the EU, will also mean the de facto handing over of our foreign policy as well.

So, the Irish Backstop is not the only problem with May's Withdrawal Agreement (or was it really written by Eurocrats).

Our future ability to forge our own foreign and defence policies depend on us ditching both the EU and this terrible Withdrawal Agreement. Leaving on WTO terms is now the only proper option.


Richard Kemp and Lee Rotherham: The backstop's not the only danger in May's deal. Its defence plans will undermine NATO.

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