Only a few days to go: We’re raising £25,000 to keep TheyWorkForYou running and make sure people across the UK can hold their elected representatives to account.

Donate to our crowdfunder

Undercover Policing

Part of Oral Answers to Questions — Business, Innovation and Skills – in the House of Commons at 10:36 am on 26th March 2015.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Joan Ruddock Joan Ruddock Labour, Lewisham, Deptford 10:36 am, 26th March 2015

In 1981, I was elected as chair of the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament. Two years later, an MI5 agent, Cathy Massiter, blew the whistle on the surveillance, the phone taps and the collection of special branch reports on me. She cited political interference in the service and said that what had happened was illegal, and she resigned. In 1987, I became a Member of this House and took the loyal oath. In 1997, I became a Minister, and I subsequently signed the Official Secrets Act. How is it that surveillance was carried out on me for all that time? I want to know and to get the Minister to understand: who authorised that surveillance, and on what grounds was it authorised? He needs to answer those questions, because this is a political issue. It is his—the Home Office’s and the Home Secretary’s—responsibility.

I am leaving this House, and I can do no more than make these points, put in a freedom of information request to the commissioner and write to the Home Secretary, but, frankly, this affects all MPs. Even though I am leaving the House, the Minister needs to do something. The future Government needs to ensure that there is a proper investigation. This should never, ever have happened to Members of this House.