Islington MP furious over police spy claims
- Credit: Archant
Jeremy Corbyn may have had phone tapped as he fought for freedom of Birmingham Six and Guilford Four
An furious MP who was allegedly spied on by undercover police said his faith in democracy has been shaken.
Jeremy Corbyn, member for Islington North, had his phone tapped by Scotland Yard during the 1990s, a whistleblower has said.
At the time, Mr Corbyn was involved with campaigns to release Birmingham Six and the Guildford Four, and says he may have been suspected of colluding with terrorists.
He said: “I only found out yesterday and I am very angry.
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“The exact dates are unclear - it was from 1990 to about 2001, but may have been earlier.
“It’s huge breach of the Wilson Doctrine - which means MP’s aren’t meant to have their phone tapped.
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“I’m very angry about it. At the time I was involved with human rights abuse cases, and the Birmingham Six and the Guilford Four.
“I was proved to be right on both of those occasions.
“At the time I was accused of harbouring terrorists. But now it turns out every meeting and discussion I had, someone was listening.
“It makes you wonder about a lot of things - including democracy.
“I’m really angry, not just for me but for my constituents as well.
“Being an MP is a privilege and a responsible position. Constituents tell me private things in absolute confidentiality, they go no further.
“But it turns out my communications were being observed.”
Whistleblower Peter Francis said he read secret files on 10 MPs during 11 years working for the Metropolitan Police’s Special Branch, including Diane Abbott, Jack Straw and Tony Benn.
Those involved called for an urgent question at the House of Commons today asking for the files to be released.
Mr Corbyn said: “[It is] interesting that Theresa May did not come to answer questions about police surveillance of MP’s and others.
“When successive members asked for their files the Minister promised to do his best but cited “security” as to why we may not get all, or any, of the files.
“I pointed out that MP’s can ask questions but others who have suffered the illegal activities of police special units do not have that privilege.
“It makes one wonder who actually controls the Metropolitan Police and who authorised these actions and to whom they reported.
“Democracy requires that all public services are accountable for what they do.
“We all have rights to protest, debate, discuss and not be intimidated by secretive Police units, that is what a democracy is all about.”
A judge-led inquiry will now contact the MPs, according to police minister Mike Penning.