’Subversive’ civil servants secretly blacklisted under Thatcher
Margaret Thatcher’s government drew up a secret blacklist of its own civil servants thought to be “subversives” in order to keep them under observation and block their promotion, papers released at the National Archives disclose.
Whitehall departments worked with MI5 to identify 1,420 civil servants to be closely watched and, where possible, kept away from computers and revenue collection roles.
The majority, 733 people, were identified as Trotskyists, and a further 607 as communists. Forty-five were said to be fascists, and 35 Welsh or Scottish nationalists, “black or Asian racial extremists” or anarchists.
MI5 also compiled lists of suspect local councillors and active trade unionists deemed to be of similar concern.
The agency warned that because central government did not directly employ health workers, it was unable to compile a list of “subversives” in the NHS “without alerting those concerned, with a high risk of public exposure of our investigation”.