One of Britain’s most respected generals was furious after the Prime Minister’s residence at 10 Downing Street admitted it had mistakenly added his name to an anti-Brexit letter.
The open letter was orchestrated by the Prime Minister’s office and signed by 13 generals who claimed that leaving the European Union (EU) would endanger national security.
However, one of its supposed signatories, General Sir Michael Rose, said he had never actually put his name to it, forcing Downing Street to issue a humiliating apology.
In fact, Sir Michael contradicted the claims in the letter, saying: “Sovereignty and security are intrinsically linked and in recent years we’ve seen the EU erode our sovereignty.” He also said he has “doubts about the wisdom of using military officers for a political campaign”.
The general was actually over 10,000 miles away in New Zealand when the letter was put together.
“Has the world gone mad?” Sir Michael said. “I did not sign up to the PM’s campaign … I merely asked to see a draft of a letter which I was about to contest! A bit difficult to do so from the Great Barrier Island where I am. About as far from Europe as it is possible to be!”
The Daily Mail also reports another former general was told his name would be put to the letter but it was removed after he expressed outrage.
Another general, Sir Mike Jackson, also said that he had not been “happy entirely” with the contents of the letter, but nonetheless was “content to put my name on it.”
Downing Street said last night that all other signatories to the letter have now been contacted. A spokesman said: “Due to an administrative error on our part, General Sir Michael Rose hadn’t signed the letter which appeared in the Telegraph this morning.”
This is the second open letter to have been orchestrated by the Prime Minister’s office this week. On Tuesday, a letter signed by the heads of 36 FTSE 100 companies called for Britain to stay in the EU.
That letter also led to embarrassment for Downing Street after they initially claimed the heads of 80 companies had signed it, only for over half of them to pull out.