Scargill's ally was Stasi agent

TWO MORE Britons have been accused of working as Communist spies passing information to East German Stasi secret police during the Cold War.

Vic Allen, a former lecturer in trade union studies at Leeds University and one time confidant of the miners' leader, Arthur Scargill, has admitted passing on secrets to the East Germans.

Gwynneth Edwards, who taught at Loughborough University, is also identified as an agent in Stasi files, which have been obtained by the UK security services. The disclosures take the number of living Britons to have been accused of spying in the past week to five.

The existence of the Stasi ring has been exposed by American intelligence officers who have now handed all their information to the British secret services.

It focused on Dr Robin Pearson, a senior lecturer in economic and social history at Hull University, who is said to have worked for the East German secret police for 12 years.

Professor Allen, 77, who has never made any secret of his pro-Soviet sympathies, admits that he provided information to East Germany but denies betraying his country, acting illegally or receiving any payment. "It was perfectly legitimate that I should do that," he says in the BBC2 documentary series, The Spying Game, broadcast next month. "I have no shame. I feel no regrets."

Dr Edwards, a modern languages expert, has been identified by the East German spec- ialist Professor David Childs, who has had access to the East German secret police documents. Last night he confirmed that she was named in the files.

"The East Germans liked to recruit foreign academics because they often had access to research information. They could get into government service or spy on other academics."

Dr Edwards is alleged to have been part of a 20-strong spy ring recruited by the East Germans. It is said that one of her roles was to report back to her controllers on any anti-Communist comments made by visiting German academics. It was not possible to contact her last night.

Dr Pearson, codenamed "Armin", was allegedly recruited while studying in Leipzig as part of his German history degree at Edinburgh University. A Home Office spokesman said yesterday that he had been interviewed by the security services in 1994 but it was decided that there was "no usable evidence" against him. His Stasi handler, Berhart Kartheus, told the BBC that the East Germans successfully recruited one in 10 of the British exchange students they approached during the Cold War. Experts estimate that this means there are likely to be up to 20 still living in the UK.

A massive undercover investigation is now under way by MI5 and MI6, Britain's internal and external security services, to track down and prosecute up to 30 Britons suspected of handing secrets to the Eastern bloc before the fall of the Berlin Wall. They are thought to include serving police officers, who have been identified by the former Scotland Yard detective and the self-confessed agent, John Symonds.

The operation will fuel Opposition criticism of the Government's decision not to prosecute other agents recently unmasked, including the great- grandmother, Melita Norwood.

Up to 15 former KGB agents are also under investigation in a separate operation after being identified from the files brought out of Russia by the defector Colonel Vasili Mitrokhin. Their names were deliberately withheld from the published version of his archive in order to stop them fleeing the country to escape prosecution. British intelligence officers are now interviewing other KGB defectors in an attempt to build up a case that will allow charges to be brought successfully.

Ann Widdecombe, shadow home secretary, demanded a full explanation from the Home Secretary, Jack Straw about the Government's failure to prosecute the alleged agents.

The Home Office issued a statement saying it would be impossible to disclose all details of security service investigations. "In fulfilling its function of protecting national security, the Security Service has ... carried out a great many investigations, including into alle- gations of espionage and hostile foreign intelligence activity.

"It is wholly unrealistic to believe that the detail of [investi-gations] should routinely be made public. It would be grossly irresponsible, as disclosure could seriously compromise the work of the agencies which, to be effective, have, to a large degree, to remain secret."

News
people Emma Watson addresses celebrity nude photo leak
News
Katie Hopkins appearing on 'This Morning' after she purposefully put on 4 stone.
peopleKatie Hopkins breaks down in tears over weight gain challenge
News
Boris Johnson may be manoeuvring to succeed David Cameron
i100
News
His band Survivor was due to resume touring this month
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
News
people'It can last and it's terrifying'
News
In this photo illustration a school student eats a hamburger as part of his lunch which was brought from a fast food shop near his school, on October 5, 2005 in London, England. The British government has announced plans to remove junk food from school lunches. From September 2006, food that is high in fat, sugar or salt will be banned from meals and removed from vending machines in schools across England. The move comes in response to a campaign by celebrity TV chef Jamie Oliver to improve school meals.
science
Arts and Entertainment
tv
Life and Style
fashionModel of the moment shoots for first time with catwalk veteran
Life and Style
fashionPart of 'best-selling' Demeter scent range
News
i100
Sport
Tom Cleverley
footballLoan move comes 17 hours after close of transfer window
Sport
Alexis Sanchez, Radamel Falcao, Diego Costa and Mario Balotelli
footballRadamel Falcao and Diego Costa head record £835m influx
Life and Style
fashionAngelina Jolie's wedding dressed revealed
News
i100
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Art & Design Teacher

£120 - £130 per day: Randstad Education Group: We are looking for an outstandi...

Assistant Management Accountant -S/West London - £30k - £35k

£30000 - £35000 per annum: Ashdown Group: We are working with an exciting orga...

Deputy Education Manager

Negotiable: Randstad Education Sheffield: Deputy Education Manager required, S...

Bookkeeper -South West London - £25k - £30k

£25000 - £30000 per annum: Ashdown Group: We are working with an exciting orga...

Day In a Page

'I’ll tell you what I would not serve - lamb and potatoes': US ambassador hits out at stodgy British food served at diplomatic dinners

'I’ll tell you what I would not serve - lamb and potatoes'

US ambassador hits out at stodgy British food
Radio Times female powerlist: A 'revolution' in TV gender roles

A 'revolution' in TV gender roles

Inside the Radio Times female powerlist
Endgame: James Frey's literary treasure hunt

James Frey's literary treasure hunt

Riddling trilogy could net you $3m
Fitbit: Because the tingle feels so good

Fitbit: Because the tingle feels so good

What David Sedaris learnt about the world from his fitness tracker
Saudis risk new Muslim division with proposal to move Mohamed’s tomb

Saudis risk new Muslim division with proposal to move Mohamed’s tomb

Second-holiest site in Islam attracts millions of pilgrims each year
Alexander Fury: The designer names to look for at fashion week this season

The big names to look for this fashion week

This week, designers begin to show their spring 2015 collections in New York
Will Self: 'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

Will Self takes aim at Orwell's rules for writing plain English
Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

Toy guns proving a popular diversion in a country flooded with the real thing
Al Pacino wows Venice

Al Pacino wows Venice

Ham among the brilliance as actor premieres two films at festival
Neil Lawson Baker interview: ‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.

Neil Lawson Baker interview

‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.
The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

Wife of President Robert Mugabe appears to have her sights set on succeeding her husband
The model of a gadget launch: Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed

The model for a gadget launch

Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed
Alice Roberts: She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

Alice Roberts talks about her new book on evolution - and why her early TV work drew flak from (mostly male) colleagues
Get well soon, Joan Rivers - an inspiration, whether she likes it or not

Get well soon, Joan Rivers

She is awful. But she's also wonderful, not in spite of but because of the fact she's forever saying appalling things, argues Ellen E Jones
Doctor Who Into the Dalek review: A classic sci-fi adventure with all the spectacle of a blockbuster

A fresh take on an old foe

Doctor Who Into the Dalek more than compensated for last week's nonsensical offering