British armed forces would be stronger outside the EU, say former military chiefs

© Francois Lenoir
Former military leaders have rallied in favor of a British exit from the EU, citing the perils of allowing Brussels to run the country.

Senior military figures have spoken for and against the EU over the course of the campaign. The latest intervention saw no less than 12 former officers call for a Brexit.

One of most prominent is General Sir Michael Rose, former commander of the SAS, who told the Daily Mail on Wednesday: “Sovereignty and defense are indivisible. European law, in my view, has already seriously undermined [the] UK's combat effectiveness as a result of the intrusion of European law into national law.

In the EU “our servicemen and women are in danger of becoming no more than civilians in uniform,” he added.

Responding to suggestions that a Brexit would leave Britain vulnerable, Falklands-era commando General Sir Julian Thompson told the Mail: “We reject completely the notion that departing from the European Union would have a negative effect on the UK’s defense and security.

Former army officer and Labour MP Dan Jarvis put the opposing case to the group of veterans on Wednesday.

Speaking at the Poppy Club in South London, Jarvis argued the Army is like the Labour Party.

Although there may be differences there are also similarities. Not least the basic belief that collectively, you achieve more together than ever you could alone.

Same in the British Army. Same in Labour politics. And it’s the same for the EU,” he added.

He was joined onstage by TV hard man Ross Kemp, who told the Guardian Jarvis would make a good Labour leader.

If he can deal with conflict, you can be a very good leader of the Labour party,” he said, but added: “I’m a team player though and presently [Jeremy Corbyn] is the leader of the Labour party, and a popular one too.”