The overwhelming consensus among British security experts that Britain is stronger and safer in Europe became clear today as Britain Stronger In Europe issues the roll call of veterans, security experts and military chiefs backing Britain remaining in Europe.
It comes as Vote Leave gain a group of new members of its Veterans for Britain group.
Fifteen senior military veterans and security chiefs have backed Britain Stronger in Europe, including the former First Sea Lord, four Former Chiefs of the Defence Staff and senior figures in the American military in Europe. Their names were featured in a Britain Stronger In Europe poster.
Separately, a number of war veterans were featured in a Britain Stronger In Europe video showing them explaining why they back Britain remaining in the EU.
Meanwhile, numerous intelligence chiefs have made clear that Britain is safer in Europe.
Jens Stoltenberg, NATO Secretary General said:
"A strong UK at the heart of Europe is good for Nato. It's good for our security. And a fragmented Europe is bad for security, bad for Nato."
Rob Wainwright, director of Europol, said:
"If you put at risk any part of the framework for international police cooperation and intelligence sharing, that Britain currently relies on then there clearly is potential for consequences … I think there are some pretty serious security consequences actually … If we accept that the EU does provide an important part of our security ... then the debate moves on to how do we mitigate that potential loss, so it becomes a damage limitation exercise."
David Petraeus, US general, former CIA chief, said:
"There is no question in my mind that a "Brexit" would deal a significant blow to the EU’s strength and resilience at exactly the moment when the West is under attack from multiple directions …
"Some have suggested that leaving the EU would reduce the risk of terrorism in the UK. That is mistaken … In fact, the best way to defend ourselves is precisely by deepening military, intelligence, and diplomatic cooperation across the Western world, by working together with our partners on the continent and elsewhere to strike at the terrorists in their sanctuaries and tackle the underlying drivers of radicalization.
from a national security standpoint, none of the problems the U.S. and UK face will become easier to solve if the UK is out of the EU; on the contrary, I fear that a “Brexit” would only make our world even more dangerous and difficult to manage."
Anders Fogh Rasmussen, Former Danish Prime Minister and NATO secretary general, said:
"If the UK were to leave the European Union, the voice of the UK would be weakened. If you are a member of the EU, you also speak with a more heavy weight when you are speaking about the transatlantic relationship, but if you are outside the EU, that argument would diminish in importance."
Sir David Omand, former GCHQ Head, said:
"In security and intelligence terms we benefit from being members of the European Union."
David Ormand, former Director of GCHQ, said:
"The UK would be the loser in security terms from Brexit not the gainer. The stronger security on the continent of Europe is, the safer we will be."
Sir Hugh Orde, former President of Association of Chief Police Officers, said:
"These new figures [on use of EAWs] demonstrate why being in Europe is so vital to the safety of Britain’s streets. For our police forces, the ability to quickly deport foreign criminals, and bring villains back to face British justice, is invaluable...If we vote to leave ... we will no longer be able to use this crucial tool to fight crime".
Jonathan Evans, Former Director General of MI5, said:
"[UK EU membership] underpins the overall stability of Europe, especially for newer entrants from the former Soviet bloc, in the face of external threats. Open borders pose policing and intelligence challenges but are only one aspect of the overall security picture. In my experience the terrorist threats to the UK in recent years, including many that have arisen within our own communities, have not been the result of EU border policy".
General Sir David Richards, Former Chief of the Defence Staff, said:
"David Cameron's instincts are spot-on. In principle, the UK will be more prosperous and more secure in a reformed EU that respects each member nations' right to tailor its engagement according to their history, strategic priorities and economic circumstances...The result will be a stronger, more secure, more influential Europe. I hope he pulls it off and that the referendum seals a deal that is good for the UK and good for Europe."
General Sir Mike Jackson, former Chief of the General Staff, said:
"I fear Brexit would work against, rather than for, the still-fragile peace process [in N.Ireland]....Scotland’s case for a second independence referendum might be unstoppable. The Scottish nationalists might well win, and so the price of Brexit could be the break-up of the UK...The ability of a truncated UK to remain a nuclear-weapon state would be in question...The loss of Scotland and our status as a nuclear-weapon state may then in turn jeopardise the UK’s permanent seat on the UN Security Council. All of this must inevitably lead to a major diminution of our place in the world – on which we depend for our trade and livelihood….My heart wants an end to our loss of sovereignty, to external courts overruling ours, to EU red tape and bureaucracy. But my head says strategic considerations must weigh significantly more heavily if we are to look with confidence to a secure future."
Lord Stirrup, Former Chief of the Defence Staff, said:
"The UK's national security is inextricably linked to the security of the rest of the continent… [Leave campaigners are] happy to see the decline of Europe, if we can sit on the sidelines. But whether we like it or not we will remain on the pitch. [The UK must] not just ask what Europe can do for us, but what we can do with Europe, out of sheer hard nosed self interest".