"There are many areas in which we can co-operate more effectively to safeguard our borders outside the European Union than we ever could inside. Through a variety of methods and arrangements open to us..."

Michael Gove, House of Commons

October 19, 2020

Facts

Michael Gove told the House of Commons that “there are many areas in which we can co-operate more effectively to safeguard our borders outside the European Union than we ever could inside. Through a variety of methods and arrangements open to us, open to Border Force and open to our security and intelligence services, we can intensify the security that we give to the British people. The third thing I would say to my right hon. Friend is that I agree with her. When it comes to everything — security and other matters — no deal is better than a bad deal.”

Priti Patel repeated this claim in January 2021 in the Telegraph, when she said that, as a consequence of Brexit, the police and security services will have “stronger powers to keep this country safe and protect our homeland security.”

As a result of Brexit, the UK automatically forfeited its membership of Europol, Eurojust and the European Arrest Warrant and no longer benefits from the same real-time sensitive data-sharing agreements.

Although the deal allows cooperation on security and policing issues, Brussels said the UK will no longer have “direct, real-time access” to sensitive information.

Crucially, the UK will lose access to the EU’s Schengen Information System II (SIS II) database of alerts about wanted or missing people and items such as stolen firearms and vehicles.

Most noteworthy of all, cooperation between Britain and France following Brexit concerning migrants crossing the channel broke down as a fierce diplomatic argument broke out between Boris Johnson and French president Macron over responsibility for refugees crossing the English Channel. If anything the British borders became more porous rather than less after Brexit, presenting a massive political headache for Boris Johnson and his Home Secretary Priti Patel.

For a more detailed analysis on migrants crossing the English Channel see the following BBC article: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/explainers-53734793

Verdict

The claims made by Michael Gove and Priti Patel were selective and failed to present anything like the entire picture. Mystery surrounds Michael Gove’s claim that there are “many areas in which we can co-operate more effectively to safeguard our borders outside the European Union than we ever could inside.”  This statement raises the question why Britain has not taken advantage of these new opportunities outside the European Union.

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