Close  

Ex-British intelligence chief speaks out against Brexit

/ 01:10 PM May 12, 2016
FILE - In this Monday, Feb. 16, 2015 file photo, former head of the British Secret Intelligence Service (MI6), John Sawers speaks at King's College part of the University of London, in London. Britain’s former spy chiefs have asked voters to keep the United Kingdom inside the European Union, arguing that the alliance gives their nation an edge in gathering anti-terrorist intelligence and underpins continental peace. The appeal published on Sunday May 8, 2016 by former MI5 director-general Jonathan Evans and former MI6 chief John Sawers sparked a fierce rebuttal from campaigners seeking a British exit from the 28-nation EU in the June 23 referendum. (AP Photo/Alastair Grant, File)

In this Monday, Feb. 16, 2015 file photo, former head of the British Secret Intelligence Service (MI6), John Sawers speaks at King’s College part of the University of London, in London. Britain’s former spy chiefs have asked voters to keep the United Kingdom inside the European Union, arguing that the alliance gives their nation an edge in gathering anti-terrorist intelligence and underpins continental peace.  AP FILE

LONDON, United Kingdom — A former head of Britain’s domestic spying agency MI5 warned Wednesday against the prospect of leaving the European Union, saying it would weaken the country at a time of increased threats.

“We are undoubtedly safer in the EU,” Eliza Manningham-Buller, who headed the secret intelligence agency between 2002 and 2007, said in a speech at the Chatham House think tank in London.

ADVERTISEMENT

“We receive substantial, life-saving intelligence from our European friends,” she said.

Several current and former security officials have spoken out in favor of a “Remain” vote in Britain’s June 23 membership referendum but some have said the country could be safer outside the EU.

FEATURED STORIES

Manningham-Buller referred to a series of potential threats to Britain from Islamic State group extremists and nuclear tests in North Korea.

It was “not the time to back away from the EU,” she said, warning that Britain’s influence “would decrease”.

“If Europe is weakened by our departure, it will weaken our security,” she said.

The former MI5 chief also rejected the idea that curbs on immigration would increase security.

“Trump-inspired barricades around our islands” will not stop the threat, she said in reference to comments by the presumptive US Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump about barring Muslims from the United States.

“The idea that the terrorist threat is coming from Europe is wrong. They are born here, they are ours,” she said.

Richard Dearlove, who headed the MI6 foreign intelligence agency between 1999 and 2004, said in March that Brexit could increase Britain’s security because it would allow the government to clamp down on immigration.

ADVERTISEMENT

Read Next
LATEST STORIES
MOST READ
Don't miss out on the latest news and information.
View comments

Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.

TAGS: Brexit, Britain, England, European Union, MI5, news, United Kingdom
For feedback, complaints, or inquiries, contact us.


© Copyright 1997-2019 INQUIRER.net | All Rights Reserved

We use cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. By continuing, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. To find out more, please click this link.