Brexit could turn UK-EU defence partnership into a ‘tragedy,’ says Bishop of Portsmouth

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BREXIT threatens to turn UK-EU defence operations into a ‘tragedy,’ according to The Bishop of Portsmouth. 

Rt Rev Christopher Foster, the Bishop of Portsmouth, was speaking in The House of Lords on the Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP), the EU’s defence operations, on Wednesday May 16. 

The Rt Rev Foster said: ‘The tragedy—and it is a tragedy—is that we might be willing and able to participate in future operations, but our leverage in planning them will be more limited.

 ‘We must not let Brexit dilute our moral purpose.

‘Lest we forget, our moral purpose is lived out in the nitty-gritty of how we participate in endeavours such as the CSDP.’

Brexit risks leaving the UK ‘being on the outside looking in,’ according to the Bishop. 

He praised the success of Operation Atalanta, the CSDP’s first naval operation, which has helped reduce international piracy by more than 90 per cent.  

He said: ‘The committee rightly draws attention, as others have, to the important success of Operation Atalanta, a signal success in suppressing piracy using Type 23 frigates well known to Portsmouth.’

The Government is hoping for the UK to have  operational but not strategic involvement in EU defence operations after the country has left the European Union.