Britain heads for ‘FULL BREAK’ from EU: Fallon declares ALL Brussels ties will be cut

Britain heads for ‘FULL BREAK’ from EU: Fallon declares ALL Brussels ties will be cut

BRITAIN is heading for a “full Brexit” that will decisively cut the country’s ties to Brussels, a senior Cabinet minister declared tonight.

PUBLISHED: 00:01, Sat, Oct 1, 2016 | UPDATED: 18:22, Sat, Oct 1, 2016

In the clearest signal yet of the Government’s plans for leaving the EU, Sir Michael Fallon dismissed calls for a so-called “soft Brexit” that would leave the UK signed up to Single Market rules including free movement for migrants.

“It is not hard or soft, it is full Brexit. We are leaving the European Union,” the Tory Defence Secretary told the Daily Express.

Sir Michael also launched a scathing attack on senior Eurocrats for plotting an EU Army while failing to meet Nato armed forces commitments.

And he revealed that work will begin next week on building the first of Britain’s new generation of Trident nuclear deterrent submarines, before going on to savage Labour leader Jeremy Corybn for wanting to “dismantle” the county’s defences.

Sir Michael, one of Theresa May’s closet Cabinet allies, spoke out today in an exclusive interview ahead of the Tory conference. The gathering – Mrs May’s first since becoming Prime Minister – is expected to give further details on her hopes for an exit EU deal.

The Defence Secretary made clear that the “soft Brexit” option wanted by many who had supported Britain remaining in the EU – largely keeping Britain’s borders open to European migrants in return for tariff-free access to the EU’s Single Market – will not be on the table.

He said: “It is full Brexit. We are working up a plan.

“The Government didn’t have a plan on June 24, that’s because the Government was arguing for Remain.

“We weren’t drawing up a plan because we were hoping to win the referendum.

“Now we are getting down to it and plotting the negotiation strategy which will take us out.”

He added: “There are huge opportunities out there but we have to leave in a way that does not jeopardise our existing trade with the rest of the EU.”

Sir Michael, who had “reluctantly” backed Remain during the EU referendum campaign, was now “optimistic” about the country’s economic prospects outside the EU.

He said: “The initial economic indicators are looking better but we have to make a success of the exit and that is going to require a huge amount of work on our side and the European side too.

The Defence Secretary, who has just returned from an EU defence council in Slovakia, told how he clashed with former Belgian premier Guy Verhofstadt over plans for integration of EU armed forces.

Sir Michael asked: “This Mr Verhofstadt – is he a serious man?

“We have spent twice as much on our defence as Mr Verhofstadt’s country and we will go on defending the security of Europe.

“It is Britain, not Belgium, that is going to be leading the Nato rapid response force and it is Britain and not Belgium that is putting troops into Estonia and Poland next year.”

He said Belgium and five other EU nations were spending less than half of the 2% of national output that should be earmarked for defence spending under Nato rules.

Sir Michael revealed that construction on the Navy’s first new nuclear missile-armed submarines for more than 25 years is soon to begin following Parliament’s recent backing for upgrading the round-the-clock seaborne deterrent.

He said: “Two months after the huge vote in Parliament, we’re pressing the button next week on the first submarine.

“I shall be announcing the cutting of steel for the first submarine next week and putting £1billion into the first build phase.

The move was a “huge contrast” with the Labour Party, after Mr Corbyn’s restatement of his belief in unilateral nuclear disarmament at the party’s conference in Liverpool.

“It is sad. We had a significant number of moderate Labour MPs who were brave enough to support us.

“It was a Labour foreign secretary who introduced a British nuclear deterrent in the 1940s. It was a Labour government that began the continuous at sea patrols in the late 1960s.

“Every Labour government in power has always supported the deterrent. Nuclear policy used to be bi-partisan.

“It is sad to see what has happened but there were some very brave Labour MPs who put the defence of the country first.

“There are 17,000 nuclear weapons out there. Mr Kim Jong Un in North Korea is developing nuclear weapons. This is the wrong time to disarm.

“In the end, it is up to the British people. I can’t believe that people will seriously vote for a party that wants to dismantle our defences.”

And Sir Michael savaged Momentum, the hard-Left organisation within the Labour Party backing Mr Corbyn, for mocking British troops in a “deeply offensive” manner.

At a Momentum event held alongside the Labour conference in Liverpool, activists sold books, mugs and tea shirts ridiculing the Army and making jokes about prosthetic limbs.

“Ours are the most professional troops in the world who have been fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan in very difficult conditions to keep this country safe and keep Mr Corbyn safe,” Sir Michael said.

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“Momentum’s right to protest is safeguarded by British troops fighting abroad.

“I can’t believe true Labour supporters would endorse that, particularly on Merseyside where people have been very proud of the troops and sailors who have been recruited from there.

“These are troops he is aspiring to command. He should not have been anywhere near that kind of activity.”

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