As I was just about to put pen to paper, I received a news alert that at least 48 people have been murdered in a car bomb attack in Baghdad. Another reminder, as if we needed one, that the world is a very unstable and volatile place. The world looks very peaceful as I look out of my office window at home. The bare trees, still showing no sign of an early spring, move from side to side very gently. The odd car moves past my house. Other than being quite literally in the middle of nowhere, you would struggle to find a more peaceful spot than where I am at the moment. The people of Baghdad would love to have that same peace this afternoon.
Theresa May, in her time as Home Secretary, was hardly seen as someone soft on terrorism. Indeed, I was one of those people trying to fight against some of the anti-terror legislation she was trying to push through Parliament – not because I am soft on terrorists, but because the snooping that she was proposing went too far. Theresa May as prime minister is not going to suddenly change – Brexit or not. She is still going to ensure that our security services cooperate with other trusted security services in order to keep us and the rest of the world as safe as we can be.
I was therefore infuriated by a press release that landed in my inbox earlier this afternoon from the Liberal Democrats. Here it is in full:
Europol Brexit warning: PM must not put ideology above security of British people
Commenting on warnings by the British Director of Europol that the UK could be more vulnerable to terrorism and organised crime after Brexit, Liberal Democrat Shadow Foreign Secretary Tom Brake said:
“People did not vote to undermine our country’s security.
“It is vital the government defends vital European cooperation in the fight against crime and terrorism in the upcoming negotiations.
“That means being prepared to compromise on some issues instead of pursuing an extreme hard Brexit that cuts all ties with our European neighbours.
“Theresa May must not put ideology above the security of the British people.”
I will overlook the fact that Tom Brake is not the Liberal Democrat Shadow Foreign Secretary – he is, as it is listed on his entry on Parliament’s website, the Liberal Democrat Foreign Affairs Spokesperson. That’s the first untruth out of the way. The rest of the press release it also utter garbage.
The idea that the Government is going to play fast and loose with our security is something that must only exist inside Tom Brake’s head. It is also fascinating that he thinks other EU countries would risk the safety of their citizens by gambling it away during Brexit negotiations. A hard Brexit, as it is known, means a clean break from the European Union. It does not mean that we won’t cooperate with other European Union counties to protect our citizens. Of course we will, just as we cooperate with other countries around the world now.
At least 48 people have died in a terrorist attack this afternoon. The Liberal Democrats should remember that and stop trying to play politics with such an important and vital part of our country’s defences.