Sir Richard Dearlove and the United Kingdom’s (UK) former Chief of Defence and head of MI6 Lord Guthrie together took the unprecedented step of writing to Conservative Association chairmen, describing Prime Minister Theresa May’s deal as a “bad agreement” and accused the European Union (EU) of demanding a £39billion “ransom”. Lord Guthrie called on Members of Parliament (MPs) to block the Prime Minister’s Brexit withdrawal agreement, warning it “threatens national security”.
Their letter states: “Your MP will shortly be called upon to support the Prime Minister's withdrawal agreement. As a former chief of the secret intelligence service, with my colleague Lord Guthrie, who served as chief of the defence staff shortly before I was in charge of MI6, we are taking the unprecedented step of writing to all Conservative Party Chairmen to advise and to warn you that this withdrawal agreement, if not defeated, will threaten the national security of the country in fundamental ways. Please ensure that your MP does not vote for this bad agreement.”
Citing a letter Sir Richard and Falklands War veteran Major General Julian Thompson wrote to PM May on November 29, the former defence chiefs claim the withdrawal agreement “threatens to change our national security policy by binding us into new sets of EU-controlled relationships”. They add: “Buried in the agreement is the offer of a 'new, deep and special relationship' with the EU in defence, security and intelligence which cuts across the three fundamentals of our national security policy: membership of NATO, our close bilateral defence and intelligence relationship with the USA, and the Five Eyes intelligence alliance. “The first duty of the state, above trade, is the security of its citizens. The Withdrawal Agreement abrogates this fundamental contract and would place control of aspects of our national security in foreign hands. Please ensure that your MP votes against this bad agreement and supports a sovereign Brexit on WTO rules, without payment of ransom.”
In their joint letter of November 29, Sir Richard and Major General Thompson argued that PM May’s deal was the “exact opposite of the people's instruction to take back control”, claiming it surrenders British national security by subordinating UK defence forces to military EU control and compromising UK intelligence capabilities. Arguing it places the vital Five Eye Alliance “at risk”, the letter, which was published in a national newspaper, dubbed the European Commission an “undemocratic organisation” that had “demonstrated how untrustworthy and hostile towards the UK” it is by “using the Irish border as a weapon”.
Urging PM May to leave the EU on WTO terms, it warned the British public to “ignore the hysterical demonisation of this course of action by the current Project Fear”, insisting “no risks are greater than the withdrawal agreement's terms of surrender”. Number 10 issued a swift rebuttal of the letter, insisting there would be “no subordination” and that “every sector, nation and region would be better off with this deal than in a no-deal scenario”. It denied the £39billion was a ransom, saying it was a “fair settlement of our obligations as a departing member of the EU”.
In the latest letter to Conservative chairman, Sir Richard insisted he and Major General Thompson had repudiated Number 10’s “worryingly poor understanding of the issues”, adding: “Number 10's immediate response to our letter showed we had touched a raw nerve."