Tory peer Norman Tebbit admitted that he received regular briefs from special branch on the activities of trade unionists while he was a minister, even knowing where they went on holiday.
The Conservative peer, 89, made an unannounced and unexpected appearance on a Zoom call organised by Richard Burgon, a Labour MP to discuss the ongoing Undercover Policing Inquiry. The inquiry is looking into the actions of the police as they infiltrated Unions and what was implemented with the information gathered.
Tebbit, a senior figure in Margaret Thatcher’s government, said the information was so detailed that he knew where trade unionists had gone on their holidays.
Unite assistant general secretary Howard Beckett told the Morning Star: “In the first instance the Mitting’s Inquiry into undercover policing has a clear duty to investigate exactly what information was passed to the government, about whom and for how long.
“Former ministers including Norman Tebbit need to account for their actions and explain why they approved of spying on entirely lawful organisations.”
He also Tweeted: “Unnoticed- Norman Tebbit admitted to a Parliamentary meeting this week that as Secretary of State for Employment he had Special Branch spy on Trade Unionists. No remorse, no regret, no apology.”
Unnoticed- Norman Tebbit admitted to a Parliamentary meeting this week that as Secretary of State for Employment he had Special Branch spy on Trade Unionists.— Howard Beckett (@BeckettUnite) March 18, 2021
No remorse, no regret, no apology.
In February actor Ricky Tomlinson has called for a public inquiry into the role of the “secret state” in the prosecutions of the Shrewsbury 24 as their bid to overturn their convictions concluded at the Court of Appeal.
The Royle Family star is one of 14 members of the so-called Shrewsbury 24, two dozen trade unionists who picketed in Shrewsbury during the 1972 national builders’ strike, who argue that their convictions are unsafe.
They were charged with offences including unlawful assembly, conspiracy to intimidate and affray and faced three “highly politicised trials” in 1973 and 1974, at which 22 of the 24 were convicted.
At a hearing in London , Court of Appeal judges were told that the “higher echelons of the state” were involved in the making of a “deeply prejudicial” programme broadcast during the first trial in 1973.
A “covert Foreign Office agency” known as the Information Research Department (IRD) provided “considerable assistance” in making Red Under The Bed, which was broadcast at the conclusion of the prosecution case in the first trial, the court was told.