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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.

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Photo of John Martin McDonnell John Martin McDonnell Labour, Hayes and Harlington 10:36 am, 26th March 2015

A few months ago, I met with Herne inquiry officers who confirmed to me covert surveillance of the campaign that Mrs Reel and I set up to find out what happened to her son, Ricky, when he died 13 years ago. We were told that we were subject to “collateral intrusion”. Two weeks ago, I tabled early-day motion 899 because I was contacted by Peter Francis, the former member of the Metropolitan police’s special demonstration squad, who confirmed in a statement that covert surveillance was carried out on trade unions, including the Fire Brigades Union, the Communication Workers Union, the National Union of Teachers and Union of Construction, Allied Trades and Technicians, as well as the families involved in justice groups, when all they were doing was seeking justice. In the Reel case, the family were simply trying to find out what happened to their unfortunately lost son.

Can the Minister confirm—and this rests with the Minister, not with the inquiry—that immunity will be given to Peter Francis, and other whistleblowers who have come forward, from any action under the Official Secrets Act when they give evidence to the inquiry?