MI6 orders more spies into the EU to help with Brexit as workers’ leave is cancelled from September
- Spy chiefs order ramping up of intelligence operations in EU before Brexit
- Heightened activity at stations in Brussels, Berlin and Paris to give government advantage in last-ditch negotiations
- Comes amid anger at Mr Johnson’s decision to pull British diplomats from Brussels in coming days
British spy chiefs have ordered a ramping up of MI6’s operations in the EU as part of Brexit preparations, The Mail on Sunday has been told.
The increase in intelligence activity in the service’s stations in Brussels, Berlin and Paris is designed to give the Government an advantage in the last-ditch negotiations to remove the hated backstop and to help strike trade deals after the UK’s departure.
But it comes amid anger in the intelligence services over Boris Johnson’s decision to pull British diplomats out from Brussels in the coming days to reinforce the message that the UK is leaving the EU by October 31 ‘do or die’.
Senior figures in MI6 are understood to have complained that the decision has had a significant impact on its activities – because many of those due to attend are on their payroll.
The increase in intelligence activity in the service’s stations in Brussels, Berlin and Paris is designed to give the Government an advantage in the last-ditch negotiations to remove the hated backstop. Pictured: The EU Commission in Brussels
One intelligence source said: ‘It has not been helpful. Many of my colleagues have now been told that their leave is being cancelled from the start of September to help to close the information gap.’
Mr Johnson’s aides said the retreat was part of wider moves to ‘unshackle’ British diplomacy from EU affairs.
But the row intensified after Tory MP Tom Tugendhat, chairman of the Commons Foreign Affairs Committee, released a letter he had written to Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab objecting to the pullout.
He wrote: ‘These meetings allow us to be as plugged in as possible to the EU’s thinking and to influence decisions… These groupings can be a valuable source of support for the UK… and can provide information the UK can use to shape outcomes.’
Mr Johnson’s aides said the retreat was part of wider moves to ‘unshackle’ British diplomacy from EU affairs