MI5 spied on suspected communists & anti-colonial leaders, secret files reveal
British intelligence spied on ordinary citizens with left-wing and anti-colonial sympathies during the post-war years, according to newly declassified files in the National Archives.
Security agency MI5 subjected anyone with links to the Communist Party to close surveillance, with spies listening to their telephone conversations, opening their letters and even following their movements.
Newly released documents reveal the security agency closely monitored David Ennals, who later served as a cabinet minister under Prime Minister Harold Wilson, and author Doris Lessing because of their communist sympathies.
In addition to monitoring left-wing activists, MI5 also worked on behalf of the Colonial Office in targeting pro-independence African leaders such as Malawi’s first president Hastings Banda.