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Tebbit must give evidence to spycops inquiry, campaigners demand

NORMAN TEBBIT must be called to give evidence to the spycops inquiry, campaigners have demanded, after he revealed police special-branch officers spied on trade-union leaders.

The Tory peer made the shocking admissions last week when he appeared unexpectedly at a meeting hosted by Labour MP Richard Burgon on the undercover policing inquiry. 

Lord Tebbit told campaigners that he regularly received briefings from police on trade unionists while serving as employment secretary in Margaret Thatcher’s cabinet in the early 1980s. 

Campaigners are now demanding that the chair of the undercover policing inquiry Sir John Mitting call the Tory peer to give oral evidence. 

In a letter to Mr Mitting, Imran Khan QC, acting on behalf of the Blacklist Support Group, said Lord Tebbit holds information relevant to the probe’s work.

Part of the inquiry’s scope is to investigate concerns that information gathered by undercover police on trade unionists was used to blacklist workers, the letter states. 

The mammoth inquiry is investigating abuses by officers serving in two top-secret police units, which together infiltrated more than 1,000 protest groups over 50 years.

Campaigners believe that spycops also gathered intelligence on trade unionists that was handed to blacklist firms, resulting in many people being shut out of employment. 

Blacklist Support Group secretary Dave Smith said: “We demand that Tebbit be called to give evidence to the public inquiry about these special-branch briefings.

“If any official government or union documentation relating to these meetings at a ministerial office exist, we demand that they are disclosed to the inquiry.”

Mr Smith said it would be “totally unacceptable” for Lord Tebbit to give a “last-minute excuse” not to give evidence. 

The inquiry said it could not provide a comment until it replies to Mr Khan’s letter. 

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