DAVID Cameron has been accused of "manipulating" former spy chiefs into warning that Britain’s security will be at risk if it leave’s the European Union.
Lord Evans, former director of MI5, and Sir John Sawers, former chief of MI6, claimed in a joint article that a Brexit would hinder the UK's ability "to protect ourselves from terrorists".
But Conservative head of the Defence Select Committee Julian Lewis claimed Lord Evans told him that voting out of the EU on June 23 would "make no difference" to national security.
He said: "I had a conversation very recently with one of the two and I was quite impressed by the fact that although he told me he was in favour of remaining in the EU, it would make no difference to our security.
"I am very surprised and rather disappointed to see this article has appeared."
Mr Lewis also accused the former spy chiefs of being manipulated into claiming Brexit would put Britain at risk of a terror attack.
He added: "I find it rather difficult to believe he has changed his mind in such a short period of time. I can only wonder if there's some sort of manipulation going on here."
But the former MI5 and MI6 directors denied they had been coerced by Downing Street into making those remarks.
They wrote in the Sunday Times: "We're not doing it at anybody's behest.
"We are completely politically neutral. Intelligence work today relies on the lawful and accountable use of large data sets to reveal the associations and activities of terrorists and cyber-attackers.
"The terms on which we exchange data with other European countries are set by agreement within the EU."
Speaking yesterday, Sir John Sawers said: "The reason we would be less safe [if the UK voted to leave], is that we would be unable to take part in the decisions that frame the sharing of data, which is a crucial part of counter-terrorism and counter-cyber work that we do these days, and we would lose the abilities of thing like the European Arrest Warrant."