UK Defence Policy and the EU: The Choice Facing the Electorate

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Julian Brazier MP, Minister for Reserves, and Emily Thornberry MP, Shadow Secretary of State for Defence, spoke at RUSI on the UK’s defence policy and the EU.

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As the EU referendum campaign reaches a crescendo, one of the key questions facing the public remains the defence implications of either remaining, or leaving the EU. On both sides of the debate, there are firmly held views about the best way in which to preserve the UK’s security, and the role of other institutions such as NATO.

On the ‘Leave’ side, Julian Brazier MP spoke on the case that the EU has a negative impact on UK and NATO defence policy, and outlined his concerns about a potential ‘EU Army’. On the ‘Remain’ side, Emily Thornberry MP argued in favour of the security benefits of EU membership, as well as discussing Britain’s influence within the EU. Both speakers then took questions from the audience.

For any queries, please contact Nathan Mathiot at


Julian Brazier MP was elected Conservative Member of Parliament for Canterbury and Whitstable in 1987.

Julian was a member of the Defence Select Committee from 1998 to 2001 and from 2010 until his appointment as a minister. He was appointed Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Ministry of Defence on 15 July 2014. Julian also served as an officer in the Territorial Army (Army Reserve) for 13 years, 6 of them in airborne forces.

Emily Thornberry MP was elected Labour Member of Parliament for Islington South & Finsbury in 2005.

Following the 2015 General Election Emily returned to the front bench as Shadow Employment Minister, and in January 2016 she joined the Shadow Cabinet after being appointed by the Rt Hon Jeremy Corbyn MP as Shadow Secretary of State for Defence. In this role she is currently leading Labour's review of defence and security policy.  

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