I AM very pleased that the Government has backtracked from its intention to sign up to EU defence spending.

But it is muted pleasure as it is quite possible that the UK could join the “permanent structured co-operation, known as Pesco, in the future.

These plans, which will inevitably lead to an EU army, must be rejected by our country, which should continue to fully support NATO.

We need to preserve our own sovereign military capabilities free from external control and while we would cooperate with and support our friends and allies to ensure collective security, we must protect our ability to defend ourselves.

We are supposed to be breaking free of the grasp of Brussels — as the majority voted for with Brexit — not tying ourselves to them.

Paul Nuttall MEP