The Government states that European Union membership is in the national interest. UKIP disagrees. Might not MI5, applying logic, therefore say it should put a tail on UKIP's wilder elements?Now nobody is going to deny that all parties have 'wilder elements' and UKIP is not immune, however that would not excuse MI5 interest. Indeed keeping tabs on the wilder one would be pointless. Listening in to some of UKIP's finest over a pint of Old Kneecracker down the King's Head planing to make a latter day reprise of Guy Fawkes seems to me to be a waste of resources, particularly in these times of a homegrown islamacist threat. Surely other more valid and sensible threats exist? Farage for example, cripes even myself (not regarding myself as 'wild' in the slightest. Lord Pearson, who occaisioned this article would no doubt be the the perfect target and is an obvious revolutionary. Here is the question,
"6 July 2009 : Column WA118And here the answer,
UK Independence Party
Asked by Lord Pearson of Rannoch
To ask Her Majesty's Government further to the Written Answer by Lord West of Spithead on 10 June (WA 151), whether the Security Service has been or is active inside or towards the United Kingdom Independence Party or any of its members. [HL4590]
To ask Her Majesty's Government further to the Written Answer by Lord West of Spithead on 10 June (WA 151), whether the security services or the police have collaborated or are collaborating with the European Anti-Fraud Office or any other organ of the European Union in relation to the United Kingdom Independence Party or any of its members. [HL4591]
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether the Security Service has investigated or is engaged with the United Kingdom Independence Party. [HL4592]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Home Office (Lord West of Spithead): The established policy of successive Governments is not to comment on questionsabout Security Service investigations.Of course thisis not the first time that these questions have been asked, back in 2001 Lord Tebbit posed similar questions in a Spectator article that seems to have dissapeared, though not references to it.
The Security Service Act 1989 sets out its functions and prohibits it doing anything in furtherance of the interests of a political party. It does not investigate anyone for being a member of a campaigning organisation.
Police operations are a matter for the relevant chief officer who is under no duty to report such matters to the Government.
The point is, as lets makes clear, MI5 works in the 'national interest' as defined by HMG. EU membership is in the national interest accordng to HMG, UKIP is a political party, not a 'campaigning organisation', and denying that MI5 works to further "the interests of a political party" seems frankly bizzare, as that should be so self evident as to be redundent.
Lord West's answer therefore raises far more questions than I am personally comfortable with.