'CND CHALLENGED OVER MI5 CLAIMS'

The Times – 15 September 1997

The Vice-President of the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND), Bruce Kent (letter, September 2), refers to "MI5-derived information ... used for party political purposes" in 1983. The truth is quite different.

In April 1983, Defence Secretary Michael Heseltine and former minister Ray Whitney exposed the fact that most CND officers, executive council and elected national council members were also members of the Labour Party, the Communist Party, or other leftist groups. This disproved the claim that CND was politically non-partisan.

I supplied the Conservatives with most of the information used by them in 1983. As explained in a letter on your columns on March 6, 1985 – which was never subsequently challenged – I neither needed nor sought assistance from the security service and I published similarly accurate analyses of CND election results in the following years.

During the 1980s, Mr Kent repeatedly acknowledged the decisive role of the Communist Party in keeping CND alive in the "lean years" of the 1970s.

When communism collapsed, it emerged that the British Communist Party had been kept alive during the 1970s by hundreds of thousands of pounds of secret KGB funds. Yet, not even that revelation causes Bruce Kent to exercise a little humility.

Dr JULIAN LEWIS MP
House of Commons
London SW1