Brexit: Trade and security go together, Fallon says


Brexit: Trade and security go together, Fallon says

Image copyright Jeff Overs/BBC

It is "very important" to link trade and security in the UK's Brexit negotiations with the EU, Defence Secretary Sir Michael Fallon has said.

The talks must cover both issues, as "those two things go together," he told BBC One's Andrew Marr Show.

Sir Michael said "we would all be worse off" if no Brexit deal was reached.

When it triggered Brexit last week, the UK said co-operation in fighting terrorism would be "weakened" if a deal was not agreed.

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The government has said the line in its official Brexit letter was a statement of facts, not a threat to the EU ahead of talks beginning.

In response, EU leaders said there could be no attempt to "bargain" between trade and security.

Sir Michael said: "It's very important to link trade and security because what we are now looking for is a deep and special partnership that covers both economic and security co-operation.

He said he was "absolutely" proud of that link, adding: "It's very important that we go on committing to the security of the continent."

Asked if failure to secure a deal would make the EU less secure, he said: "We would all be worse off it there wasn't a deal. We are expecting to have a deal."

Labour's shadow foreign secretary Emily Thornberry told the BBC's Pienaar's Politics the government was "clearly" using the UK's military strength as a "bargaining chip".

Image copyright PA
Image caption Gibraltarians voted overwhelmingly to remain in the EU

Meanwhile the EU's draft negotiating guidelines have triggered a row by saying decisions affecting Gibraltar will be run past the Spanish government.

Speaking on BBC One's Sunday Politics, former Conservative leader Lord Howard predicted Prime Minister Theresa May would show the same "resolve" towards Gibraltar as ex-PM Margaret Thatcher did towards the Falklands in the 1982 conflict.

Sir Michael said: "Gibraltar is going to be protected all the way because the sovereignty of Gibraltar cannot be changed without the agreement of the people of Gibraltar and they have made it very clear they do not want to live under Spanish rule."

Gibraltar's chief minister Fabian Picardo said he was "energetically and enthusiastically" supporting Mrs May in her Brexit negotiations.