Renegade spy comes in from the cold

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The Independent Online

The rogue secret agent David Shayler, who has spent three years living in "political exile" in Paris, is to return to Britain to face charges of breaching the Official Secrets Act.

The rogue secret agent David Shayler, who has spent three years living in "political exile" in Paris, is to return to Britain to face charges of breaching the Official Secrets Act.

The former MI5 intelligence officer is due to arrive at Dover Port with his family and girlfriend on Monday. Police are expected to immediately arrest the fugitive.

He fled the country in 1997 after claiming MI6 was behind a plot to assassinate Libyan leader Colonel Gaddafi which failed disasterously, leaving several civilians dead.

Officers are expected to immediately whisk the 34-year-old off for questioning by the Metropolitan force's Special Operations Unit.

Supporters hope Mr Shayler, who has claimed to have struck a deal with the Government over his return, could be freed on bail later in the day.

He will again put his case at a press conference in the French port of Calais tomorrow.

The former agent, from Middlesbrough, will be accompanied by his parents and two brothers as well as Miss Machon, also a former intelligence officer, and Mr Wadham on the ferry journey back to Britain.

He claims he will be arrested twice on Monday before being freed to prepare his defence under a deal struck with the Government.

Mr Shayler hopes to use European human rights laws, which will come into force here in Britain from October, to challenge any charges.

He has also reportedly threatened to stand against Prime Minister Tony Blair in his County Durham constituency of Sedgefield as a "anti-sleaze" candidate at the next election.

The avid Middlesbrough FC fan spent four months in a Paris jail as British officials attempted to extradite him for trial under the Official Secrets Act in 1998.

This was thrown out by a French court, leading the Attorney General to begin civil proceedings for damages in the High Court.

The Government suffered a second defeat last month when the High Court ruled newspapers did not have to give police documents and e-mails sent to them by Mr Shayler.

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