Blacklisted workers are granted ‘core participant’ status in the Pitchford public inquiry into undercover policing

Members of the Blacklist Support Group outside the High Court

Members of the Blacklist Support Group outside the High Court

Blacklisted workers are celebrating a major breakthrough after they were granted ‘core participant’ status in the Pitchford public inquiry into undercover policing.

The confirmation came in a letter to Imran Khan & Partners solicitors, who had applied to the Pitchford inquiry on behalf of the Blacklist Support Group. All of the named individuals in the BSG application have been successful. Core participant status means that blacklisted workers will be given access to all the evidence generated and the UK state will cover the cost of legal representation throughout the entire public inquiry.

The first full session of the Pitchford inquiry starts tomorrow at the Royal Courts of Justice. It is  expected to last three years.

BSG secretary Dave Smith said: “We are not naive and are remain skeptical about whether Pitchford will fully expose what these secret political policing units have been up to and which politicians were directing the strategy. But Pitchford is the only game in town likely to get close and we intend to continue to push for justice both inside and outside the inquiry.

“The biggest barriers to justice at the moment are the wholesale systematic destruction of documentary evidence which has already taken place by the police and the farcical ‘Neither Confirm Nor Deny’ position adopted by the police about both the undercover police officers and the activists that were their targets.

“We currently have the Alice in Wonderland situation where people have been granted core participant status in a public inquiry about the failings of undercover policing but the very same individuals are still being spied on by the police for their political activities. Unless Pitchford uses his authority to demand the police come clean, the entire inquiry has the danger of becoming another establishment cover-up.”

Blacklisted workers now stand alongside the Lawrence family, women activists who suffered sexual and emotional abuse, environmental & anti-racist activists and families campaigning for justice for their murdered loved ones, in being a central theme of the inquiry into the role of the UK’s political policing units.

Pitchford is only taking place because of years of dedicated hard work by grassroots activists themselves assisted by investigative journalists, lawyers and a handful of principled politicians. Years of campaigning has now proven beyond doubt that undercover police officers infiltrated the construction unions and also spied on union activists from RMT, FBU, UNISON, NUT and CWU.

Yet campaigners fear this is likely to only be the tip of the iceberg. It is hoped that full legal representation in Pitchford will go some way to exposing the full scope of the covert practices the state apparatus employs against unions and other perfectly legal progressive campaigns.

 

 


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Tim Lezard

Campaigning journalist, editor of @Union_NewsUK, NUJ exec member; lover of cricket, football, cycling, theatre and dodgy punk bands

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