Former Brexit Party MEP Ben Habib said he was fearful the UK was planning to commit itself to EU defence agencies and organisations. During an interview with Express.co.uk, Mr Habib warned Boris Johnson could agree to the EU’s military demands and cooperation to get a Brexit deal. Mr Habib took specific issue with the UK aligning itself with the EU’s security structure PESCO as opposed to NATO.
Mr Habib said: “I am very concerned about defence and what might happen on defence.
“People may not know that PESCO (Permanent Structured Cooperation) set up by the European Union, which is their alternative to NATO, was actually something set up in 2017.
“Which Theresa May, when Boris Johnson was foreign secretary, signed the United Kingdom up to.
“We actually signed into this European defence union after we had voted to leave the EU.
“Boris Johnson did not jump up and down against it and, in fact, I think he is quoted at the time as saying something like we are leaving the EU and I wish them well in their military objectives.”
Mr Habib reiterated why he was cautious with these developments in relation to the current Brexit trade talks.
He said: “I am very concerned that any deal we do commits us to European defence agencies, military interoperability and PESCO.
“The reason I am concerned about that is one we need to defend Europe through NATO not PESCO.
Both sides remain unable to come to a resolution on a deal and Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak has said the UK will not take a Brexit deal at any price.
Ahead of his Comprehensive Spending Review next week, he claimed the UK will not be bullied into taking a bad deal.
Mr Sunak told the Sunday Times: “The major impact on our economy is the coronavirus.
“It’s absolutely not a question of doing a deal at any price. If we don’t get a deal, why is that?
“It is because they are refusing to compromise on what are some completely reasonable and very transparent principles that we’ve laid out from the beginning.”