Brexit ministers accused of 'gunboat diplomacy' and David Davis branded 'a dejected bully'

Brexit: Cabinet ministers accused of using military protection as bargaining chip

Ministers have been accused of using the military as a bargaining chip

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Cabinet ministers have been accused of a form of gunboat diplomacy for raising the issue of military protection as a bargaining chip in the Brexit negotiations.

The UK's latest negotiation paper highlights how crucial UK military protection is to European security, according to The Independent.

In the paper, which will be published today (September 12) the Government underlines its substantial defence budget, the seat on the UN Security Council, nuclear weapons and troops being deployed in Eastern Europe.

However some EU figures have claimed Brussels will view this as an attempt to use the strength of the British military for cynical purposes.

Guy Verhofstadt, Brexit coordinator for the European Parliament, told The Independent that there cannot be a “trade-off” using security.

Verhofstadt thinks "it is vital the EU and UK continue to work to together, as our common security is intrinsically interlinked. However, the European Parliament has made it clear that, whatever the outcome of the negotiations on the future European Union-United Kingdom relationship, they cannot involve any trade-off between internal and external security, on the one hand, and the future economic relationship, on the other hand."

Another source from the EU said “the days of gunboat diplomacy are over” as they warned the UK against the tactic. The source also claimed “David Davis increasingly resembles a dejected schoolground bully."

The latest rebuke from the EU echoes accusations which were made when Theresa May claimed a failed Brexit deal would leave security cooperation weak.

More Brexit negotiations are set to take place next week. The last set of negotiations ended with Michel Barnier, chief negotiator for the EU, warning that not enough progress has been made.