This morning, 13 ex-military leaders signed a letter to the Daily Telegraph in which they warned Britain would be less safe if it left the EU.
The letter warned voters should opt to remain tied to Brussels at the upcoming in/out referendum on June 23 in order to protect the UK from the “grave security threats” posed by Islamic State terrorists and Russian president Vladimir Putin.
But, a Downing Street spokesman was later forced to admit the letter had not in fact been signed by former special forces chief General Sir Michael Rose, despite his name appearing as a signatory.
Sir Michael has since asked for his name to be removed from the letter.
He told Sky News he had been sent a draft of the letter and was aware it was being prepared but had decided he did not want to sign it.
A Downing Street spokeswoman 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.”
It comes after David Cameron was forced to defend why only around a third of Britain’s biggest companies had signed a similar letter warning against Brexit.
The letter, published yesterday, was signed by the bosses of 36 of FTSE 100 firms despite speculation earlier in the week between 50-80 would come out in support of the Prime Minister’s campaign to keep Britain in the EU.
It has also been claimed those 36 companies received almost £100m in grants from Brussels’ between them during 2007 to 2014.
Brexit groups have accused Mr Cameron of scaremongering by deploying ‘Project Fear’ ahead of the EU referendum.
Mayor of London Boris Johnson and Northern Ireland Secretary Theresa Villiers dismissed the intervention of FTSE 100 bosses by highlighting how many of Britain’s top businesses had previously championed joining the disastrous euro single currency.
In the Telegraph letter, the armed forces chiefs – which also included former chiefs of defence staff Field Marshal Lord Bramall and Field Marshal Lord Guthrie as well as Air Chief Marshal Lord Stirrup and Admiral of the Fleet Lord Boyce – had written: “We have served around the world and in almost every conflict in which Britain has been engaged since the Second World War.
“We are proud to have served our country and to have played our part in keeping Britain safe.
“In the forthcoming referendum, therefore, we are particularly concerned with one central question: will Britain be safer inside the EU or outside it?
“When we look at the world today, there seems to us only one answer.
“Europe today is facing a series of grave security challenges, from instability in the Middle East and the rise of Daesh, to resurgent Russian nationalism and aggression.
“Britain will have to confront these challenges whether it is inside or outside the EU. But within the EU, we are stronger. Inside it, we can continue to collaborate closely with our European allies, just as we did when we helped to force the Iranians to the negotiating table through EU-wide sanctions, or made sure that Putin would pay a price for his aggression in Ukraine.”
But Ukip’s defence spokesman Mike Hookem, an armed forces veteran, blasted “an utter inversion of the facts that Britain is more secure being run from Brussels”.
He added: “It”s also laughable to say that we could not cooperate militarily with our allies unless we were part of a political structure.
“The existing cooperation within NATO clearly shows that argument to be valueless.”