No 10 Downing Street bugged by MI5, claims historian

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MI5 secretly planted bugs in 10 Downing Street despite repeated official denials and they remained in place for more than 10 years during the tenure of five prime ministers.

The disclosure was to have been included in the official history of MI5 by the Cambridge historian, Christopher Andrew, published last year to mark the agency's 100th anniversary. It is believed to have been suppressed by senior Whitehall officials to protect the "public interest".

Bugs are understood to have been placed in the cabinet room, the waiting room, and the prime minister's study, at the request of Harold Macmillan in July 1963. They remained there until James Callaghan removed them in 1977.

An MI5 file referring to the operation was included in the draft of Andrew's book, The Defence of the Realm, according to the Mail on Sunday. Whitehall officials did not deny the claims.

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