Britain’s post-Brexit security plans have been compared to a wish list to Santa, as Sajid Javid acknowledged the deal is not “perfect in every sense”.
The Home Secretary said he believed the Brexit agreement on offer is the “best option available” in ensuring a “smooth exit”, although he came under fire from the DUP for suggesting it will allow the UK to “take back control of our borders” and end the jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice (ECJ) in the UK.
Mr Javid also recognised comprises have been made with Brussels but argued the deal was better than an “unplanned” no-deal Brexit, which he claimed would likely cause some disruption to security operations.
But as MPs questioned the level of crime and security cooperation between the UK and EU under the deal, Labour former Europe minister Chris Bryant said the Government’s aims were “no more deliverable than a letter to Santa Claus”.
Mr Javid also told MPs that it remains his intention to publish the Government’s immigration white paper before the end of the year.
In response to a question from Labour’s Yvette Cooper, he said: “I can tell her that it’s certainly still my intention to publish it in December and that hasn’t changed.”
Mr Javid later said the agreement secured by Theresa May will allow the UK to continue to work with Brussels on cross-border investigations on modern slavery, using DNA databases to catch criminals, the fast-track extradition of suspects, along with working alongside Europol and Eurojust.
Mr Bryant, intervening, said: “That’s a great wish list, and it’s all in the Political Declaration, but it’s no more deliverable than a letter to Santa Claus.
“It really isn’t.”
The MP for Rhondda added: “It’s all very well having a wish list, but how on earth could a serious Member of Parliament vote for nothing more than a wish list?”
Shadow foreign secretary Emily Thornberry, winding up the second day of debate for Labour, also focused on security and said the deal failed to protect UK citizens.
She said: “The first duty of every government is the duty to protect the safety and security of its citizens and the Prime Minister’s deal fails.
“It is the very definition of making the British people, who our first duty it is to protect, less safe and less secure.”
Foreign Office minister Sir Alan Duncan was scolded by Speaker John Bercow for repeatedly shouting “nonsense” and “what rot” at Ms Thornberry before Jeremy Hunt could respond on behalf of the Government.
The Foreign Secretary, concluding the second day of debate, said: “Under the Withdrawal Agreement our law enforcement agencies will continue to use EU tools and databases throughout the transition period and as the transition period concluded paragraph 87 states that we have agreed to continue to exchange information.”
MPs are expected to resume the debate on Mrs May’s Brexit deal on Thursday morning.