Veterans for Britain made a major impact in the EU Referendum, neutralising the Remain campaign’s attempts to use security scare stories to their advantage. We gained thousands of supporters and widespread media coverage following the intervention of 14 Admirals and Generals advocating a vote to Leave, held public meetings and mobilised hundreds of activists to deliver 250,000 Veterans for Britain leaflets in ports and garrison towns across the country.
Led by Maj-Gen Julian Thompson, Veterans for Britain argued that it was the UK’s role in the NATO that had been the cornerstone of the country’s international defence cooperation and that it was NATO that had maintained peace for the UK and Europe, not the EU. We rejected completely the notion that departing from the European Union would have a negative effect on the UK’s defence and security.
In addition, if the UK had remained part of the EU, it would have been forced to join an EU Army/ Defence Force; a major and permanent loss of sovereignty. We argued that it was essential to maintain and where necessary re-establish the United Kingdom’s autonomy in defence and to ensure it is directly and solely accountable to the UK Parliament. Outside of the EU, the UK would continue to work closely with its NATO partners, including those still in EU and the six non-NATO nations in the EU. Our task now is to help turn that vision into practice.