INTELLIGENCE SERVICES – SUBVERSION – 26 October 1999
Dr Julian Lewis: It has now been revealed beyond all doubt that the Stasi penetrated CND. Will the Home Secretary therefore take this opportunity to confirm that it is legitimate for a security service in a democracy to monitor penetration of so-called peace movements by communist, fascist or other agencies or movements that are allied to any dictatorship with which that service is confronted? Will he say once and for all whether MI5 was right or wrong to monitor communist infiltration of the so-called peace movement in the 1980s? Does he recognise that that penetration was exposed not by Mitrokhin, but in the files of the Stasi, with a quality of information that led to successful prosecutions in Germany and the United States of America? Why is nothing being done about the matter here?
[N.B. The Home Secretary, Jack Straw, replied: The position regarding the Security Service and subversion is set out in "MI5: The Security Service", a perfectly public booklet. It is currently in its third edition, but I have no doubt that the hon. Gentleman has read the second and first editions as well as the third. It states:
"It has often been alleged that in the past the Service systematically investigated trade unions and various pressure groups such as the National Union of Mineworkers and the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament."
It goes on to say that that allegation was not true. It adds:
"To fulfil its function of protecting national security, the Service therefore investigated individual members of bona fide organisations when there were grounds to believe that their actions were intended to overthrow or undermine parliamentary democracy by political, industrial or violent means."
If the hon. Gentleman is asking whether I sign up to that proposition without knowing anything of what happened under the previous Administration, I do sign up to it. I hope that that helps him.]