Labour MP Geoffrey Robinson denies acting as spy for Czechs during Cold War

Adam Forrest

Veteran Labour MP Geoffrey Robinson has denied allegations that he was a spy for communist Czechoslovakia during the Cold War, denouncing the accusations as “complete fabrication”.

A report in The Mail on Sunday claimed Mr Robinson passed information to the Czech StB state security service between 1966 and 1969 while working in Labour’s research department.

Citing documents from the Czech archives, the paper alleged that material given to the communist authorities included sensitive details relating to Britain’s Polaris nuclear deterrent as well as Nato briefing notes.

A spokesman for the MP – a minister in Tony Blair’s New Labour government – called the claims “a lie” in a strongly worded statement.

“These allegations are highly defamatory and false and Mr Robinson strongly refutes them. The allegations, which are apparently based on documents put together by Czech authorities in the 1960s, are a complete fabrication.”

The spokesman added: “At no time did Mr Robinson ever pass confidential government documents or information to any foreign agent and he did not have access to such material.”

At the time of the alleged contacts, Mr Robinson – now aged 80 – was said to have been working in the research office at Labour Party HQ at Transport House. He went on to work for prime minister Harold Wilson’s Industrial Reorganisation Corporation (IRC), before founding technology company TransTec in the 1980s.

Appointed Paymaster General by Mr Blair in 1997, he resigned in 1998 after it was revealed he had lent Peter Mandelson £373,000 to buy a house.

Geoffrey Robinson outside the Houses of Parliament in 2000 (PA Archive/PA Images)

According to the Mail story, he held 51 meetings with a Czech handler over a three-year period in the late 1960s, during the course of which he was said to have passed on 87 pieces of intelligence.

He was said to have been given the codename Karko and the material he handed over was said to include information relating to plans to upgrade Polaris and the withdrawal of British troops from what was then West Germany.

Mr Robinson was said to have attracted the interest of the StB, in part because of the access they believed he had to then foreign secretary George Brown and defence secretary Denis Healey.

The spokesman for the MP said that the translation of the only document which he had been shown – a “partial” document dated 19 February 1974 – did not support the claims.

“It describes him as “concurrently a Secretary to the Minister of Defence … Mr Healey”. He was never a secretary to Mr Healey,” the spokesman said. “At the end of the document, it states “these moments were neither proven nor clarified” so even on its face this document is not proof that such activity took place.”

Last year Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn denied claims made by a former Czech spy that he had been paid by the communist regime in the 1980s.

Mr Corbyn admitted to meeting Jan Sarkocy but insisted he thought the man was a diplomat, and strongly denied giving him any information. A party spokesman dismissed Mr Sarkocy as “a fantasist, whose claims are entirely false”.

The leader of the opposition’s office later released details from his records showing he was at a meeting in Derbyshire at the time the former communist spy claimed to have been with him in London.

Additional reporting by PA