Parliamentary authorities have launched an investigation into claims a member of Jeremy Corbyn’s team has been working on the parliamentary estate without security clearance.
Andrew Murray, who was a member of the he Communist Party of Great Britain until he joined Labour two years ago, has reportedly been working in the Labour Leader’s Commons office for eight months without the required security clearance. Murray has openly supported the terror group Hezbollah and spoken of his support for militants attacking Western troops.
It follows reports earlier this week that his Private Secretary, Iram Awan, a pro-Palestinian activist, was also not granted full security passes but continued to work for the Labour leader in Parliament for nine months using a visitor’s pass.
Commons authorities are now facing questions about the apparent breach of basic security rules and why Mr Murray and Miss Awan have not yet had their application approved despite taking up the role with the Labour leader many months ago. An investigation is underway as to whether Parliamentary rules have been broken by Mr Corbyn’s office in allowing them to work in Parliament.
Every staffer in Parliament requires a Commons pass and is required to undergo a counter-terrorist check (CTC) into their background and associates.
Colonel Richard Kemp, former commander of British forces in Afghanistan, told MailOnline: “Make no mistake, Hezbollah is actively planning attacks around the world, including in Europe and in the UK.
“It is not surprising that a Corbyn ally has these sympathies. After all, Corbyn himself called Hezbollah his friends a few years ago.
“To have supporters in the heart of our democracy will give the terrorists great encouragement. It is deeply worrying and it must be stopped.”
A Labour spokesman said: ‘We do not comment on staffing matters.’
Conservative Party chairman Brandon Lewis said: “This clear breach of security not only puts Parliament at risk, it also raises serious questions about Jeremy Corbyn’s judgment and integrity.”
Tory MP Leo Docherty added: ‘We all know how the security of Parliament is a matter of the utmost importance and Jeremy Corbyn has put this at risk.’
Andrew Murray – Supporter of Hezbollah
Mr Murray, who is also chief of staff of the Unite union and one of Corbyn’s closest allies, was a member of Britain’s communist party until 2016 and has praised Stalin and North Korea. On one occasion, he reportedly said: ‘Against imperialists, we are all Stalinists’.
On another, he pledged ‘solidarity’ with the North Korean regime.
Mr Murray came out openly in support of terrorists at a rally in 2009 at which the Labour leader also spoke.
The Daily Mail reports:
He took the stage to read out a message sent to him by Ali Fayyad, a Hezbollah terror chief.
The letter began, ‘Greetings to you from the freedom fighters of Hezbollah,’ and included an extended anti-British, anti-American and anti-Israeli rant that justified kidnap and violence.
‘Hezbollah’s only fault is that it is a Lebanese resistance movement,’ it said, calling British policy on the Middle East a ‘shameful position’.
People at the rally carried banners saying ‘victory to the intifada’ and ‘we are all Hezbollah’ and waved the communist flag. Mr Corbyn himself also spoke, railing against Israeli ‘state terrorism’.
Mr Murray, who joined the Labour leader at the head of the anti-West Stop The War Coalition, also said he supported militants attacking Western troops.
At a Europeans Against Nato rally in 2009, he ranted: ‘Our desire to defeat Nato demands that we extend the hand of solidarity… to those who are exercising their right to resist.’
He added: ‘Only in unity, north and south, east and west, European and Middle Eastern, will we defeat the Nato leaders. That is what we must do.’
In a report on the 2006 march, where 20,000 people are said to have attended, the Socialist party newspaper wrote: ‘Left-wing leading members of the Stop the War Coalition, including George Galloway and Andrew Murray, not only failed to raise socialist ideas but also expressed uncritical support for the Islamist Hamas and Hezbollah.’
A speech was also made by activist and long-term Corbyn ally Azzam Tamimi, who said he wanted to blow himself up in a suicide attack.
‘Sacrificing myself for Palestine is a noble cause,’ he told the BBC. ‘It is the straight way to pleasing my God and I would do it if I had the opportunity.’
Iram Awan – Corbyn’s private secretary
Iram Awan, the Labour leader’s Private Secretary, has also not had her application approved by the authorities by the authorities on the advice of the security services, due to questions over known associates.
She was hired late last year and has worked in the Leader of the Opposition’s office in the Palace of Westminster since despite her lack of security clearance.
Awan, a British-born national whose role includes providing “strategic advice” to Corbyn, has been escorted into Parliament on a routine basis by other members of his team.
The role of Private Secretary is one of the most important in the Leader of the Opposition’s office. Awan’s predecessor in the job was Laura Parker, who left to become National Coordinator of Momentum.
The Huffington Post reports:
Counter-Terrorist Check (CTC) clearance is required by everyone working in Parliament and normally takes a matter of weeks at most to process.
Awan has routinely accessed Parliament through both its Derby Gate and Portcullis House entrances.
She goes through security checks and X-ray like other visitors, before being picked up by a member of Corbyn’s team and escorted to his office.
A total of 41 people working in Corbyn’s office are listed on the Register of Interests of Members’ Secretaries and Research Assistants. Awan is not among them.
The practice of Corbyn’s office regularly escorting Awan into the building appears to be a clear breach of Parliament’s rules on security which forbid anyone from working on the Parliamentary estate without approval.
Awan’s duties are understood to involve her working with Corbyn both inside and outside Parliament.
It is understood that Corbyn is personally aware that she has not been granted a pass. The reasons for the lack of clearance have not been specifically communicated to his office.
Every applicant for a Parliamentary pass is required to read the Government’s personnel security and national security vetting policy.
It states: “There are three different types of national security vetting clearance: Counter Terrorist Check (CTC), Security Check (SC) and Developed Vetting (DV)…
“They are all intended to allow Parliament to assess whether individuals who are to be employed in sensitive posts or critical functions might represent a security risk directly or indirectly. Applicants for a Parliamentary Pass will normally undergo a CTC only”.
Individuals are asked to provide information about themselves, family members and other associates. It may be checked against information held by the Security Service (MI5) and third party references. “Interviews with the vetting subject and referees may be carried out to establish good character and to verify information that has been provided.”