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Brexit: Lack of progress putting public safety at risk, say MPs

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Armed
police stand outside Manchester Central on day one of the
Conservative Party Conference on October 4, 2015 in Manchester,
England. Up to 80,000 people are expected to attend a
demonstration today organised by the TUC and anti-austerity
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  • Lack of progress in Brexit negotiations putting UK
    public at “at serious and unnecessary risk,” according to
    MPs.
  • The report said there is a “serious risk” that crucial
    aspects of security co-operation will end after Brexit because
    both sides are refusing to budge on their “political red
    lines.”
  • It said Theresa May should drop her blanket opposition
    to the role of the European Court of Justice.
  • Labour MP Yvette Cooper, chair of the committee, said
    the lack of progress was “very disturbing.”

LONDON — A lack of progress in Brexit negotiations is
putting public safety “at serious and unnecessary risk,”
according to a damning report by British MPs.

The Home Affairs select committee said “political red
lines” on both the UK and EU sides were standing in the way of a
security deal, and said there was a “serious risk” that crucial
aspects of security co-operation will end after Brexit — either
at the end of a transition period or as soon as March next
year. 

It warned that both the UK and EU would face a “security
cliff edge” next March in the event of no deal, with serious
ramifications for public safety and the ability to stop criminals
across Europe. It said the government had failed to put workable
contingency plans in place for a no-deal scenario.

Committee Chair, Labour MP Yvette Cooper, said it was
“unthinkable” to have no deal on security co-operation.

“The gap between the UK Government and the EU and the lack
of progress on policing cooperation is very disturbing,” she said
in a statement.

“To have no deal on security cooperation would be
unthinkable.

“It would stop the police sharing crucial information on
dangerous international criminals, stop border officials getting
urgent information on criminals trying to enter the country,
undermine investigations into trafficking, terrorism, organised
crime and slavery, jeopardise trials and justice for victims, and
let criminals go free.

“It would be utterly irresponsible of both sides to fail to
secure a deal in this area.” 

“The cliff edge will only be delayed”


Labour MP Yvette Cooper
Labour
MP Yvette Cooper, chair of the Home Affairs select
committee

Reuters / Suzanne
Plunkett


The report recommended that both sides show more flexibility and
make compromises that ensure crucial policing and security
cooperation could continue without a significant loss of
capabilities. 

It said the UK should drop its blanket opposition the European
Court of Justice after Brexit and respect its remit in relation
to security co-operation — for example, on matters including data
protection and extradition. 

While the report said that a no-deal scenario, which would see
Britain crash out of the EU in March next year, posed the
greatest threat to European security, it warned that both sides
could still run out of time to secure a co-operation deal even
after a two-year transition period.

“Even if the transition deal is agreed, the cliff edge will only
be delayed for two years if both sides don’t start to compromise
in the interests of public safety,” said Cooper.

“The EU is being far too rigid about preventing the UK
participating in important criminal databases. And the UK
Government is being far too rigid about the role of the European
Court of Justice,” she added.

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