Downing Street apologises to army general for EU blunder

British General Sir Michael Rose in Pale, Bosnia, pictured in January 1995.
British General Sir Michael Rose in Pale, Bosnia, pictured in January 1995.

DOWNING street has been forced into issuing an embarrassing apology after it inadvertently said a high-profile army general was backing the Prime Minister’s campaign to stay in a reformed EU.

The letter sent to the Telegraph was signed by four former Chiefs of Defence Staff and a host of other respected military figures and outlined the case that Britain enjoys stronger levels of security because of its membership of the EU.

However, former UN commander in Bosnia, Lieutenant General Sir Michael Rose, was reported to be furious to see his name attached to the letter, and rang up to complain.

A Downing Street spokesperson said: “General Sir Michael didn’t sign the letter, it was a mistake on our part. He didn’t sign it.

“The mistake was made. Somebody thought that he had, but he hadn’t.”

Questions were raised whether any of the army generals had read through the letter, but the spokesperson said he would not go into detail on how people had been given their ascent to the document.

The letter was prepared in conjunction with Downing Street, and was signed by Field Marshal Lord Erwin Bramall and Field Marshal Lord Charles Guthrie – both former chiefs of defence staff - and also Marshal of the RAF, Jock Stirrup, and two former heads of the Royal Navy, Admiral Lord Alan West and Admiral Sir Mark Stanhope.

The letter said Europe was facing grave security challenges from Russia and instability in the Middle East, and would need the EU for support.

They described the organisation as an “increasingly important pillar of our security”.