No deal Brexit could ‘weaken’ UK and EU, top US intel chief warns

America’s most senior intelligence chief warned on Tuesday that a no deal Brexit could “substantially weaken” the United Kingdom and the European Union. 

Dan Coats, the US director of national intelligence, warned that there would be “economic disruption” if London and Brussels fail to reach an agreement over the terms of departure. 

Mr Coats expressed the concerns in prepared remarks to the Senate Intelligence Committee as he and five other intelligence chiefs discussed “worldwide threats”. 

“In Europe, political, economic and social trends will increase political uncertainty and complicate efforts to push back against some autocratic tendencies,” Mr Coats said. 

“Meanwhile, the possibility of a no deal Brexit, in which the UK exits the EU without an agreement, remains. This would cause economic disruptions that could substantially weaken the UK and Europe.”

Mr Trump, the US president, has done little to hide his criticism of Theresa May’s Brexit deal, which was voted down by MPs earlier this month.

He has repeatedly questioned whether the agreement, which keeps Britain closely aligned to Brussels in terms of trading goods, limits the ability for a major UK-US free trade deal after Brexit. 

The US president is yet to comment on the current impasse in Parliament since Mrs May’s withdrawal agreement was voted down by the House of Commons. 

Last week a senior official at the Office of the Director of National Intelligence – Mr Coats’s department – told this newspaper that the UK-US intelligence sharing relationship was not expected to be impacted by Brexit. 

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