Welcome to the new Independent website. We hope you enjoy it and we value your feedback. Please contact us here.


Parliament & Politics: Straw will not see his MI5 file

JACK STRAW has admitted that MI5 kept a file on him and labelled him a "political subversive" in the 1970s when he was the president of the National Union of Students.

But the Home Secretary made clear he did not want to see the file, because it would be abusing his position. "It is an accident for which the security service were responsible 25 years ago that I know there is a file on me. But I have not looked through it. I don't think I should have any more rights over that file than any other citizen in the same position."

Allegations that his phone was bugged and a file kept on him were first made by David Shayler, the ex-MI5 agent who revealed a dossier claiming "operational inefficiency" and "management malpractice". He said the former ministers Peter Mandelson and Harriet Harman were also monitored.

In a BBC television programme, How to be a Home Secretary, to be shown on Sunday, Mr Straw professed his confidence in the security service. He was "pretty happy" about the way the service was run, adding that he had regular meetings with the director-general, Stephen Lander.