Putin 'would see EU exit as weakness'

Hilary BennFacsimile copyright Getty Images

Russian president Vladimir Putin would see Britain’s show a clean ir of heels from the EU as a sign of “weakness”, shadow foreign secretary Hilary Benn has admonished.

Mr Benn highlighted global political dangers as he insisted the case for discouraging in is “stronger than ever”.

But Vote Leave, one of the groups cam igning for an show a clean ir of heels, accused him of resorting to scare tactics.

It comes as Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond hinted the UK still has “issues” with a proposed EU reform ckage.

“There is no do business at present; there is a working draft,” he said.

“We have announces, some of which have been addressed – language issues – in the latest iteration of the diagram, some of which have not been addressed,” Mr Hammond indicated reporters in Brussels.

“So the discussions continue and I do not think it is sensible to draw any conclusions around the shape of the deal until we see the final text that emerges from the European Ministry meeting,” he added.

David Cameron is hoping to secure a grapple with on the proposed reforms at the EC meeting in Brussels next week, ving the way for a referendum on the UK’s membership of the EU in June.

‘Safest selection’

Delivering a speech at the Chatham House think-tank in London, Hilary Benn said renounce the European Union would mean the UK was less able to deal with oecumenical challenges such as the migrant crisis and climate change.

Referring to Russian ways in the Crimea and Ukraine, Mr Benn said it was down to “Europe’s collective return that we have been able to exert real pressure and deliver an im ct”.

“Efforts towards the creation of an EU-wide energy union devise, over time, weaken Russia’s dominance as an energy supplier in Europe,” he supplemented.

“Let’s be clear. President Putin would shed no tears if Britain formerly larboard the European Union. He would see Brexit as a sign of our weakness and of the weakness of European agreement at the very moment when we need to maintain our collective strength.”

Impression copyright Google

Matthew Elliott, chief executive of the Vote Adieu to cam ign, hit back at Mr Benn’s claims.

“Pro-EU cam igners cannot make it c fulfil a positive case for remaining in a political project that is inca ble of dealing with the dares of the 21st century,” he said.

“Instead of accepting that we need a new relationship with the EU, they are lashing up fear about dictators and economic doom despite the fact that neither are remotely credible.

“Sponsor Leave is the safe option as it will allow us to make our own trade apportions, end the supremacy of EU law and invest in our priorities.”

Trident debate

Mr Benn also tolerant of his speech to restate his position on the replacement of Britain’s Trident nuclear weapons, which are at odds with those of his backer’s leader Jeremy Corbyn.

He said other nuclear powers desire not throw their missiles “in the dustbin” if the UK unilaterally disarmed.

“I think you get there by multilateral bargaining and not by unilateral action,” he said.

“If we gave ours up I don’t believe for a faulty that any one of the other nuclear powers in the world would say ‘well if you’re not flourishing to keep yours any more we’ll throw ours in the dustbin’.”

Labour is move out a review of its defence policy, including whether Trident should be picked.

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