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House of Commons Hansard
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Leaving the EU: Future Defence Relationship
14 January 2019
Volume 652
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9. What recent assessment he has made of the UK’s future defence relationship with the EU after the UK leaves the EU. [908530]

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The UK will pursue a distinctive, independent and sovereign foreign and defence policy that meets British interests and promotes our values. The political declaration negotiated with the EU recognises the shared threats and values of the UK and the EU and provides a framework for an ambitious, broad, deep and flexible future relationship.

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The EU Common Security and Defence Policy missions play an extremely important role for peace and security in the European continent and beyond. Can the Minister confirm that, post-Brexit, we will not be withdrawing personnel and operational support from such missions?

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The hon. Lady is absolutely right. Of course, up until recently, we actually led Op Atalanta, which was the counter-piracy operation in Somalia, although that has now handed over to a joint mission between Italy and Spain. In the future, the Prime Minister has made it absolutely clear that, just because we are leaving the European Union, it does not mean to say that we are leaving our responsibilities over security in the European Union. We will look at contributing to missions where we can when it is in both the UK and EU’s interests.

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Does my right hon. Friend agree that, as we regain our position as an independent and global presence on the world stage, it is even more important that the United Kingdom is seen as a reliable and credible partner and ally across the world?

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My hon. Friend is absolutely right. This is a golden opportunity for us to look to expand our footprint across the world. Only this year, we have seen Royal Navy warships in the far east—three in fact—and that is just the sort of presence that we look to continue in the future.