Ex-undercover officer reveals that covert police unit spied on trade union members - full statement

Whistleblower Peter Francis worked undercover for Scotland Yard’s Special Demonstration Squad Photograph: Graham Turner for the Guardian

Whistleblower Peter Francis revealed last night that the undercover police unit he worked for gathered intelligence on members of at least five trade unions


Former undercover spy Peter Francis has revealed that a covert police unit that monitored political groups gathered intelligence on members of at least five trade unions.


This here is the story on his disclosure.


Below is his full statement that was read out by John McDonnell MP at a meeting in Parliament last night. The meeting was held to launch a new book - Blacklisted : the Secret War between Big Business and Union Activists.


“I am humbled as well as honoured to be offered to speak tonight at such an important book launch here at the prestigious House of Commons.


“However I cannot appear here for a number of reasons, including and primarily, because of some very serious outstanding legal issues/difficulties with the Metropolitan police, that continue to hang over me ever since I became a whistleblower and therefore a potential criminal in their eyes.


“I have received clear legal advice that me, even speaking here today, is likely to be considered a breach of the Official Secrets Act because I have not been granted permission from the Metropolitan police or Home Secretary to speak to you.


“This remarkable, well-researched and must-read book clearly shows how police spying on political activists has destroyed lives and that I, most unfortunately and regrettably, played a part in this.


“The forthcoming Home Secretary’s public inquiry into undercover policing must include a forensic, independent (in other words, non-police) examination into all the blacklisting files compiled by the Consulting Association and then cross-reference them with corresponding Special Branch individual activists’ records to look at the areas of collusion.


“There will be multiple duplicates. Of that I have no doubt at all.


“In relation to Mark JENNER aka Mark CASSIDY, exposed last week in the media as being a UCATT member.


“An anonymous and unaccountable Scotland Yard spokesperson has obviously re-quoted their usual attempted ‘Get out of Jail Free card’ response by saying “We neither confirm nor deny the identity of any individual alleged to have been in a covert role. We are not prepared to confirm or deny the deployment of individuals on specific operations.”


“But tonight, here in this supposed home of UK democracy, please let me state very clearly that Mark JENNER was 100% one of my fellow undercover SDS police officers deployed alongside me in the 1990s.


“Jenner, who has now been very publicly exposed, should be forced to appear in person at the public inquiry to account for his spying on, amongst numerous other political protesters, the totally law-abiding construction union UCATT members whose only ‘crimes’ were being union members.


“I would also like take this opportunity to unreservedly apologise to all the union members I personally spied upon and reported back on whilst deployed undercover in the SDS.


“Including those not only engaged in working in the construction industry but also those in the National Union of Students (NUS), National Union of Teachers (NUT), Communication Workers Union (CWU), UNISON and the Fire Brigades Union (FBU).


“As everything I have previously stated, I am prepared to repeat all of this under oath at the public inquiry and should UCATT or any other union or the blacklisted campaigners wish me to, in any court cases they might bring against the relevant UK authorities.


“Yours in solidarity. Because at this precise moment in time, before the public inquiry, there is “No Justice there is Just US”.