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Labour’s military plan has no place in British politics

Keir Starmer in Estonia 2 scaled 2560x1280 c center
Written by Frederick Chedham

Col Frederick Chedham argues that Labour’s proposed defence pact with EU threatens to dismantle British defence sovereignty, devastate our industry and cripple our democratic decision-making.

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Under current Labour plans, the UK would sign an unequal military treaty with the EU Commission. Starmer has pledged that he would not be putting the UK into the EU’s orbit. If proposals about an EU military treaty idea get into Labour’s manifesto, it will be clear that he is not serious about that pledge and is willing to sell out the UK. I have written to Keir Starmer urging him to remove it.

Labour’s proposed defence pact with the EU threatens to dismantle British defence sovereignty, devastate our industry, and cripple our democratic decision-making. John Healey and David Lammy are pushing a policy pulled from the ashes of Theresa May’s failed exit deal. Keir Starmer needs to wise up and keep this dangerous idea out of his manifesto.

The EU’s proposal is a bureaucratic nightmare. It drags the UK into the European Defence Agency (EDA), the European Defence Fund (EDF), and Permanent Structured Cooperation (PESCO). These frameworks, part of May’s final sellout, are now being touted by Healey and Lammy. Participation isn’t the issue; it’s the strings attached.

Take PESCO, for instance. It demands 21 specific pledges from the UK: scrutiny, adherence, endorsement, obligation, and direction. Eighteen of these require us to bow to EU scrutiny and follow their rules. Thirteen force us to endorse the EU as a military authority. Twelve bind us to permanent participation, funding, and political commitments. Eight interfere with UK government decision-making.

These commitments are intrusive and overreaching. They mean the UK must follow EU treaties, fund EU military projects, and deploy our forces at their behest. Worse, we’d have to share sensitive information, potentially jeopardizing our Five Eyes intelligence alliance.

This setup hands control to the EU, with penalties for non-compliance. It’s the same regulatory stranglehold we fought to escape with Brexit. The British public detests the idea of EU control over UK decisions, and Labour is playing with fire by pushing this.

What’s in it for the UK? Labour offers no clear benefits, just vague notions of solidarity with allies. But we already have NATO for that. We don’t need more EU bureaucracy. The commitments under EDA and EDF mirror those of PESCO, with the EU dictating terms to the fullest extent of their law, including our defence spending.

Deciphering the EU’s proposal is a Herculean task, littered with treaty references and endless commitments. Imposing this on UK departments would be a costly, democratic nightmare, far worse than the EU era we left behind.

The so-called ‘pact’ Healey and Lammy push is a misnomer. It’s a one-sided treaty, shackling the UK without reciprocal EU obligations. When May flirted with this in 2019, she faced a backlash and it was dropped. Rightly so. Senior figures insisted that NATO should be our main defence platform, free from EU constraints.

Keir Starmer must see the peril in his colleagues’ plan and ensure this EU defence treaty is buried. If he doesn’t, it falls to former Armed Forces personnel and all who value UK sovereignty to mobilize against Labour. This is a fight for our nation’s autonomy and democracy. Labour must not, and cannot, be allowed to drag us back under the EU’s thumb.

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About the author

Frederick Chedham

Reform Party UK Defence Spokesperson