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EU vital for countering terrorism threat, says Blunkett

Published 26/05/2016

Home Secretary David Blunkett delivers his keynote speech to the Labour Party Conference in Bournemouth. Blunkett signalled further action to curb gun crime if Labour gains a third term of office. * Mr Blunkett told Labour's conference: Two terms in office isn't enough to prepare Britain for the century ahead. In his keynote speech, he indicated the challenge of gun culture would be tackled head on if Labour won a third term in power. 04/11/2003 Plans to make police more accountable to their local communities were being published by ministers Tuesday November 4, 2003. A Green Paper was being issued which could allow forces to recruit chief constables from abroad for the first time. Mr Blunkett was announcing the proposals as he addressed the Association of Police Authorities annual conference in Manchester. *11/12/03: The Government's anti-terrorism measures have created a 'Guantanamo Bay in our own backyard', Amnesty International claimed. The human rights group said Home Secretary David Blunkett's emergency measures - brought in shortly after the September 11 atrocities - had created a 'shadow' criminal justice system for foreigners. 14/01/04: Home Secretary David Blunkett was visiting a mosque today. He will meet Muslims who worship at the North Watford Mosque and lay a foundation stone for a new cultural complex. The high-profile visit comes as TV presenter and former MP Robert Kilroy-Silk continues to face criticism for his comments about Arab states. *23/02/04: Details of the government's measures to protect Britain's welfare system from abuse by the 10 new European Union member states were being outlined by Mr Blunkett. Ministers agreed last week to draw up plans to deal with the issue amid widespread fears that floods of migrants will arrive in the UK when countries like Poland, Hungary and the Czech Republic join the EU in May.
Home Secretary David Blunkett delivers his keynote speech to the Labour Party Conference in Bournemouth. Blunkett signalled further action to curb gun crime if Labour gains a third term of office. * Mr Blunkett told Labour's conference: Two terms in office isn't enough to prepare Britain for the century ahead. In his keynote speech, he indicated the challenge of gun culture would be tackled head on if Labour won a third term in power. 04/11/2003 Plans to make police more accountable to their local communities were being published by ministers Tuesday November 4, 2003. A Green Paper was being issued which could allow forces to recruit chief constables from abroad for the first time. Mr Blunkett was announcing the proposals as he addressed the Association of Police Authorities annual conference in Manchester. *11/12/03: The Government's anti-terrorism measures have created a 'Guantanamo Bay in our own backyard', Amnesty International claimed. The human rights group said Home Secretary David Blunkett's emergency measures - brought in shortly after the September 11 atrocities - had created a 'shadow' criminal justice system for foreigners. 14/01/04: Home Secretary David Blunkett was visiting a mosque today. He will meet Muslims who worship at the North Watford Mosque and lay a foundation stone for a new cultural complex. The high-profile visit comes as TV presenter and former MP Robert Kilroy-Silk continues to face criticism for his comments about Arab states. *23/02/04: Details of the government's measures to protect Britain's welfare system from abuse by the 10 new European Union member states were being outlined by Mr Blunkett. Ministers agreed last week to draw up plans to deal with the issue amid widespread fears that floods of migrants will arrive in the UK when countries like Poland, Hungary and the Czech Republic join the EU in May.

The European Union is an essential element in countering the threat of terrorism, former cabinet minister David Blunkett is warning.

Lord Blunkett - who was home secretary at the time of the 9/11 attacks - will use a speech on Thursday to say that if the EU had not existed "we would have had to invent it".

He will also say it would be a "calamity" if Britain was forced to abandon its border controls in Calais as a result of a vote for Brexit on June 23.

The Labour grandee - who voted against Britain's membership of the Common Market in the 1975 referendum - becomes the latest political heavyweight to enter the increasingly fraught referendum campaign.

He will draw on his experience of 9/11 to underline the importance of the EU relationships to Britain's security.

"The meetings we held at the justice and home affairs council, at a Europe-wide level after September 11, were illustrative of the importance of the ability to work quickly and effectively with all those who were then part of the union," he will say.

"The European Arrest Warrant, the data sharing improvements, the use of biometrics and yes, improved collaboration on the wider European border all demonstrate the importance of what we call the European Union.

"In simple terms, if we had not had the EU, we would, on these issues, have had to invent it."

Lord Blunkett will also warn that the importance of the agreement which allowed Britain to operate border controls at Calais and at the Eurostar terminals in Paris and Brussels had been "grossly underestimated".

"I am absolutely clear that this agreement could not have been reached had we not built an understanding, worked together as part of and understood that our future was in, the European Union," he will say.

"Were the French to decide to revoke the agreement, which leading French spokespeople have indicated, it would be a calamity for robust and rational border controls.

"This would lead to an increase in asylum claims from people who came to our shores and the disappearance of tens of thousands of people into the illegal economy."

Addressing his own past-Euroscepticism, Lord Blunkett will say: "Forty years ago I voted 'no' to staying in the European Union. So what has changed? The simple answer is 'The world.'"

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