• Dame Stella Rimmington refused to name names but said they were ‘familiar’
  • Comments have triggered mass speculation as to who she was referring to 
  • Among possible candidates are Seamus Milne, Andrew Murray & Jon Lansman 
  • Former MI5 director-general made the claims at Cheltenham Literature Festival 

Alisha Rouse For The Daily Mail

Communists who were once monitored by MI5 are now among Jeremy Corbyn‘s most senior advisers, the spy agency’s former director-general said yesterday.

Dame Stella Rimington claimed that some of those close to the Labour leader had been watched over fears they could seek to subvert British democracy.

But she refused to name names, saying only that the advisers were ‘familiar’ and part of the far-Left Momentum grassroots group.

Dame Stella, who was the first female director-general of MI5, said: ‘I see in Momentum some of the people who we were looking at in the Trotskyist organisations of the 1980s.

Communists who were once being spied on by MI5 are now among Jeremy Corbyn's (pictured right) most senior advisers, it has been claimed. The agency refused to name names, leaving people to wonder who it was referring to. Pictured with Mr Corbyn is advisor Seamus Milne

Communists who were once being spied on by MI5 are now among Jeremy Corbyn's (pictured right) most senior advisers, it has been claimed. The agency refused to name names, leaving people to wonder who it was referring to. Pictured with Mr Corbyn is advisor Seamus Milne

Communists who were once being spied on by MI5 are now among Jeremy Corbyn’s (pictured right) most senior advisers, it has been claimed. The agency refused to name names, leaving people to wonder who it was referring to. Pictured with Mr Corbyn is advisor Seamus Milne

‘They are now grown up and advising our would-be prime minister Mr Corbyn as to how to prepare himself for power.’

The former spy’s first managerial job for the security service was as head of F2, which was a branch responsible for investigating trades unions and communist groups.

The 82-year-old told the Cheltenham Literature Festival yesterday: ‘In those days, we were looking at the Communist Party of Great Britain and various Trotskyist organisations.

‘Our job was to find out exactly who the members of the Communist Party of Great Britain were, and various subversive organisations that were identified as wishing to destroy the democratic system of this country.

‘Now they advise Mr Corbyn, that’s quite an ironic turn of events. Certainly, their names are familiar, shall we say that much.’

Dame Stella Rimmington's remarks have led to mass speculation about who she could have been referring to. Momentum founder Jon Lansman (pictured) has been suggested as one potential.

Dame Stella Rimmington's remarks have led to mass speculation about who she could have been referring to. Momentum founder Jon Lansman (pictured) has been suggested as one potential.

Another potential of Dame Stella's allegations is Andrew Murrary (pictured) Unite union's chief of staff who worked for Labour during the election campaign

Another potential of Dame Stella's allegations is Andrew Murrary (pictured) Unite union's chief of staff who worked for Labour during the election campaign

Dame Stella Rimmington’s remarks have led to mass speculation about who she could have been referring to. One potential is Momentum founder Jon Lansman (pictured left) and Unite union’s chief of staff Andrew Murrary (pictured right)

The remarks sparked speculation about which of the Labour leader’s advisers Dame Stella had been referring to. 

Labour MPs suggested possible candidates included Mr Corbyn’s spin doctor Seumas Milne, Momentum founder Jon Lansman and the Unite union’s chief of staff Andrew Murray, who worked for Labour’s election campaign.

Last night a Momentum spokesman said: ‘Nameless allegations harm our political debate, and we’d recommend Stella Rimington refrain from making them in the future.’

A spokesman for Jeremy Corbyn said: ‘It is well-documented that a wide range of trade union and political activists, including future senior government ministers, were monitored in the 1980s by the security services.

‘It would be a breach of the Official Secrets Act and her obligations as a former senior MI5 officer if Stella Rimington divulged privileged information.’

In May it was claimed Mr Corbyn was investigated by the security services over his links to the IRA at a time when he was campaigning for a united Ireland and supported convicted terrorists.

A source claimed his support for Irish republicans led security officials to look into his activities in the early 1990s.

This is not the first time Mr Corbyn’s inner-circle has been mired in controversy over their Leftist views.

Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell described himself as a Marxist in 2013, and has admitted he wants to ‘overthrow capitalism’. He said at the time: ‘We’ve got to demand systemic change. Look, I’m straight, I’m honest with people: I’m a Marxist.

A Momentum spokesman slammed the allegations, saying: 'Nameless allegations harm our political debate, and we'd recommend Stella Rimington refrain from making them in the future.' Labour leader Mr Cobryn is pictured with adviser Seamus Milne (centre) and wife Laura Ilvarez (left) 

A Momentum spokesman slammed the allegations, saying: 'Nameless allegations harm our political debate, and we'd recommend Stella Rimington refrain from making them in the future.' Labour leader Mr Cobryn is pictured with adviser Seamus Milne (centre) and wife Laura Ilvarez (left) 

A Momentum spokesman slammed the allegations, saying: ‘Nameless allegations harm our political debate, and we’d recommend Stella Rimington refrain from making them in the future.’ Labour leader Mr Cobryn is pictured with adviser Seamus Milne (centre) and wife Laura Ilvarez (left) 

Former director general of MI5 Dame Stella Rimington (pictured) made the allegations at Cheltenham Literature Festival 

Former director general of MI5 Dame Stella Rimington (pictured) made the allegations at Cheltenham Literature Festival 

Former director general of MI5 Dame Stella Rimington (pictured) made the allegations at Cheltenham Literature Festival 

‘This is a classic crisis of the economy – a classic capitalist crisis. I’ve been waiting for this for a generation.

‘For Christ’s sake don’t waste it, you know; let’s use this to explain to people this system based on greed and profit does not work.’ 

In 2015, Mr McDonnell read from Chairman Mao’s Little Red Book – a book of quotes from the former Chinese communist leader Mao Zedong – in the House of Commons.

Dame Stella, who ran MI5 from 1992 to 1996, joined the security service in 1969. Her first post was to monitor communists in the South West. 

She said: ‘My first job when I joined the service, I was responsible for the Devon and Cornwall branch of the Communist Party of Great Britain.

‘And my job was to know exactly who belonged to it, so should they ever apply for a job that gave them access to classified information, I would pop up and say, ‘Ah, no.’

‘That’s why Trotskyists came into that area at the time.’

So just who could she be talking about?

Seumas Milne

A communist sympathiser from his school days, Seumas Milne attended communist meetings at Oxford University and – after graduating – took a job at the newspaper Straight Left, which represented the Stalinist faction of the Communist Party Of Great Britain.

He joined The Guardian in 1984, becoming labour correspondent, and later defended the newspaper’s literary editor Richard Gott after he confessed to meeting officials from the KGB and taking money from a Soviet spy. Mr Milne said that the allegations ‘seemed absurd’. He joined Jeremy Corbyn’s team as director of communications in 2015.

Jon Lansman

Hard-Left veteran Jon Lansman founded the Momentum grassroots campaign group, which did so much to propel Mr Corbyn to the leadership of the Labour Party in 2015.

He is a central member of Mr Corbyn’s inner circle and a decades-long ally of John McDonnell.

He joined Labour in the 1970s and went on to work for Tony Benn during the bitter factionalism of the early 1980s. Last year he said: ‘I’ve never been in any Trotskyist organisations, or far left groups. I’ve always been a Bennite.’

Andrew Murray

Now chief of staff at the Unite union, Andrew Murray – who was seconded to Labour’s election campaign – spent decades as a leading figure in the Stalinist Communist Party of Great Britain.

He was a former correspondent for hard-Left bible The Morning Star and Soviet news agency Novosti, and wrote an article on the 120th anniversary of Stalin’s birth, questioning why the tyrant was so hated.

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