Veterans for Britain is a group of former service personnel from across all three services. We are proud of our nation, our Armed Forces and our service within them. We are motivated to make these points in reply to discussions about the forthcoming EU referendum.
We reject completely the notion that departing from the European Union would have a negative effect on the UK’s defence and security.
The UK’s role in the North Atlantic Alliance (NATO) for more than 65 years has been the cornerstone of the country’s international defence cooperation and has maintained peace for the UK, Europe and further afield during that time. Outside of the EU, the UK would continue to work closely with its NATO partners, including those in Europe and the six non-NATO nations in the EU. The UK would also continue to cooperate on joint anti-piracy and counter terrorism activities.
Scares that are being disseminated as part of the EU referendum debate and which relate to departing from the EU are wholly unjustifiable. It is disappointing to see the UK’s defence arrangements and international cooperation mischaracterised so clumsily for the sake of a political endeavour, namely the transitional European Union project.
The UK Armed Forces perform a distinctive role in underpinning the relationship between the people and UK Head of State and elected government and we are concerned that this role and this relationship would be muddied by the increasing role of the EU of UK life, including its powers in areas of defence. The loyalty of serving forces, new recruits and former personnel is towards the Monarch and, via the Monarch, the Nation and the British People.
The UK and its Armed Forces would be freer, more effective, more democratic and more able to retain their distinctive capabilities and ethos if they were without the impositions being applied by the EU in defence command, defence structures, operations, procurement, intelligence and the development of new technology.
We believe it is essential to maintain and where necessary re-establish the United Kingdom’s autonomy in defence in the context of its pre-existing alliances and to ensure it is directly and solely accountable to the UK Parliament.