British Watergate Shock Claim (17.08.75)

News of the World, 17th August 1975

NOTW170875

See also Don Hale’s recent Mirror article, which alleges that former Home Secretary Leon Brittan “ran Special Branch as his own personal ‘Gestapo’, who monitored fellow MPs.”

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3 comments
  1. Kate MacDonald said:

    Transcript:
    BRITISH WATERGATE SHOCK CLAIM (News of the World, 17th August 1975)

    A sensational claim that a British Prime Minister ordered the Watergate-style burglary of a politician’s home is to be made in a new book.
    The authors, two experienced Fleet Street crime reporters, say in an account of the activities of the Special Branch:
    “Not a decade ago a certain Prime Minister even arranged for a detective to ‘burgle’ a senior politician’s flat because he was dubious about some of his activities.
    “It does not require much inventiveness to imagine the uproar that would have ensured had that ‘crime’ become public knowledge.
    “There are times, however, especially in the fight against crime, when the ends justify the means.”
    The only two Prime Ministers in the last 10 years were Mr Heath and Mr Wilson.
    But the authors do not say which Premier was in office at the time of the alleged order.
    And the book, Crime in Britain Today, due out next month from publishers Routledge and Kegan Paul, does not include evidence in support of the claim.
    The authors are Clive Borrell, crime reporter for The Times since 1967, and Brian Cashineela, who investigated crime for The Times for five years and is now on the Daily Express.
    Their shock claim will obviously cause parallels to be drawn with the American scandal in which five official burglars with bugging equipment were arrested in Washington’s Watergate building, headquarters of the Democratic Party.
    But it is not suggested that the alleged British “burglary” was ordered for any motive other than national security.
    Prime Ministers have had a close liaison on security matters with the heads of Special Branch and counter-espionage service.
    When I asked Mr Borrell about the burglary claims he said: “”We’ve been deliberately vague about the time of the incident so as to protect the source.
    “The statement is factual but we cannot comment further at this time.”
    There was no official comment from Downing Street yesterday on the authors’ statement.
    But a spokesman for Mr Heath said: “It is unforgivable for an author to make any such allegations without supporting evidence.”
    And Lord Wigg, security supremo for Mr Wilson in the 1960s, said: “I’ve never spent much time on stories where the authors cannot produce any hard evidence.
    “Of course, there have been mysterious burglaries. I was burgled myself some years ago.
    “I was worried about secret papers I had at the time. There were also raids on the offices of Lord Goodman, Harold’s legal advisers.”
    The writers claim that the Special Branch sometimes have to bend the rules.
    They say: “If their assignment is concluded successfully such an action is forgotten.
    “If, however, it goes wrong the public outcry that follows is deafening, especially from the direction of Westminster where some MPs, greedy for a headline, demand to have their cake—having already eaten it.”
    Mr Paul Rose, Labour MP for Manchester Blackley, told me: “The Special Branch certainly watch MPs. In some cases it has proved justified because of their undesirable activities.”

  2. l8in said:

    Reblogged this on L8in.

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