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Yvette Cooper expresses security concerns in the event of a no-deal Brexit

A no-deal Brexit will affect Britain's ability to tackle terrorism, according to Labour MP Yvette Cooper

Speaking on the Andrew Marr Show, Ms Cooper said: 'If you listen to the anti-terror chief, Neil Basu, he says we will be unsafe because we are allowing terrorists into the country." The Labour MP wants a deal that guarantees the UK and EU continue to share intelligence to prevent terrorism.

But many disagree Brexit will disrupt security. Former CIA Director Michael Hayden says the EU is actually an obstacle to tackling terrorism. His claims were supported by former MI6 chief Sir Richard Dearlove, who claimed leaving the EU would improve UK security because it would end the free movement of people. Both confirmed the UK was one of the most effective and well-supportive intelligence services in the world, and that agencies like Europol cooperate more with the US more than intelligence services in individual nations in any case. Hayden said the US would be interested in cooperating with the UK post-Brexit on security issues.

These claims are supported by Sir Mark Lyall Grant, a former British national security adviser. He confirmed membership of NATO, the five-eyes intelligence community and bilateral agreements - like the Lancaster House agreement with France - are more vital to UK national security than EU membership.

Yet anti-terror chief Neil Basu fears that a no-deal Brexit will be exploited by the far-right. The anti-terror chief also worries about losing access to data from EU nations that may lead to a loss of intelligence.

Former Danish prime minister - also a former NATO Secretary General - Anders Fugh Rasmussen wrote in The Guardian that a no-deal Brexit would disrupt data flows within hours of leaving the EU. The UK and EU currently share sensitive information on fingerprints and DNA, and the UK once championed these measures to improve security efficiency.

It is unclear whether nations like Germany would allow sensitive personal data flows to the UK without a clear legal monitoring framework, and although the UK Government has said that it will implement EU data protection systems, they have rejected data overseen by EU redress systems.

The UK can also replicate other cooperation agreements. For example, Europol facilitates the exchange of passenger data with the US and Canada. Denmark can still access Europol even though the nation voted in a referendum to withdraw from some EU home affairs areas in December 2015.

It is, of course, crucial that the UK and the EU reach some sort of agreement on security post-Brexit. Continued membership of Europol will preserve cooperation on cyber-security, and Britain must have continued access to the Schengen and Prum databases, which store DNA and fingerprint information.

During a time when terrorism harms the security of nations, it would be ludicrous for both the UK and the EU to end their current cooperation. Yet it probably would also not be a total disaster due to Britain's membership of bodies like NATO. But with the possibility of no-deal becoming more likely, the Government must make contingency plans if they crash out without an agreement on security.

Matt Snape

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