LONDON - A United Kingdom (UK) Minister of Defence has spoken out against a no-deal Brexit and warned severing ties with the European Union without an agreement in place would have implications for national security.

Tobias Ellwood, one of the defence ministers, has become the latest official to publicly express opposition to a no-deal Brexit.

"Leaving without a deal would mean access to around 40 international security programmes would be significantly reduced. Exchanges of critical intelligence data would halt until new arrangements are in place. We would immediately reduce our ability to tackle threats from terrorism to cybercrime, modern slavery to fraud," Mr. Ellwood said in a Times interview.

Arguing that Britain's reputation would suffer, he recalled the UK PM's Florence speech, in which Theresa May said failure to reach a deal with the EU "would be a failure in the eyes of history and a damaging blow to the future of our continent."

Referring to Britain's soft power – a concept championed by the staunch Brexiteer Boris Johnson – the defence official argued it would be damage as a consequence of a clean EU exit.

"A no-deal would damage our soft power at the very time threats to the world order on multiple fronts require strong nations to defend the international rule book. To deliberately pursue no deal over the government's deal would be an act of folly. No deal is simply not an option," Mr. Ellwood argued.

British Prime Minister Theresa May, left, walks ahead of European Union chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier prior to a meeting with European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker at EU headquarters in Brussels, Saturday, Nov. 24, 2018

Next month, the PM will appeal to the members of the parliament in hopes of enlisting their support for her Brexit withdrawal agreement. If Mrs. May succeeds and secures parliamentary approval for her deal, it would prevent a disorderly exit from the European Union in March 2019.

Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May (C) chairs a meeting of her Cabinet at Sage Gateshead, in Gateshead, north-east England on July 23, 2018.

Should the PM fail to get the MPs' backing, it may lead to a second referendum or a no-deal Brexit all together.

AB/ANA/27 December 2018 - - -