Defence minister Earl Howe told the Defence Committee that the future of defence industrial co-operation after Brexit “was in the lap of the Gods” before immediately adding with a nervous laugh “…but I shouldn’t do that”.
Instead the Government have only – after losing a vote in the Commons – agreed to release the studies to MPs.
Commenting, Chris Bryant MP, leading supporter of the Open Britain campaign, said:
“Earl Howe today admitted what is abundantly clear – that the Government’s pursuit of a hard Brexit has put the future of the defence sector and other key industries in the lap of the Gods.
“His instant attempt to laugh it off only served to emphasise how weak and embarrassing the government’s position has become.
“The Brextremists repeatedly downplay the importance of EU membership for defence, security and fighting crime – yet they must know what risks are being taken. Brexit puts our defence industry at risk by potentially cutting us off from the wider European market.
“Theresa May might not appreciate it, but Earl Howe has done us all a favour by letting the public know the truth about Brexit and defence industry jobs.”
Notes to editors
Earl Howe’s evidence to the Defence Committee can be seen here: http://www.parliamentlive.tv/Event/Index/b09de079-310e-41b6-ade8-4edcd04649db - he makes his remarks about “the lap of the gods” from 12:38:50 onwards.