Jeremy Corbyn aide working in Parliament despite being refused security clearance

Posted On: 
12th September 2018

A top aide to Jeremy Corbyn has continued working in his Commons office despite being refused a Parliamentary pass over security concerns, it has emerged.

Ms Awan has been working as Mr Corbyn's Private Secretary for over nine months
PA Images

Iram Awan, the Labour leader’s private secretary, has been working in Parliament for more than nine months despite failing a Counter Terrorist Check over concerns about her known associates, the Huffington Post has reported.

Ms Awan took over the top role last year after her predecessor, Laura Parker, left the leader's office to become the national co-ordinator of Momentum

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But despite failing the background security checks which anyone seeking to work in Parliament must go through, Ms Awan has continued to enter Westminster via a visitor’s entrance, before being escorted to Mr Corbyn’s office by one of his team.

Huffington Post claims that Mr Corbyn was aware of the refusal to grant Ms Awan security clearance, but that the exact reason had not been communicated to his office.

A spokesperson for the Labour leader said: “We don’t comment on staffing matters.”

But a Labour source said: “We have not been told that any member of staff has been refused a pass or any reasons for why any pass may not have yet been granted.”

Official Government guidance on the vetting policy states: “[The background checks] are all intended to allow Parliament to assess whether individuals who are to be employed in sensitive posts of critical functions might represent a security risk directly or indirectly.”

It adds that an application for clearance can be refused when there are concerns about “an individual’s involvement or connection with activities, organisations or individual’s associated with the threats described in this Statement (or any similar new threats that emerge).”

A Westminster source told PoliticsHome that without proper clearance, Ms Awan should not be able to access Parliament's secure IT network.

They said: "Without security clearance she won't have access to the Parliament network, so someone else must be logging her on. That person is committing a breach, possibly an offence, and is liable to have their own clearance revoked."

A Parliamentary spokesperson suggested that Ms Awan's arrangement could be a breach of strict rules regarding access to the Commons.

They said: “Visitor passes are for visitors only; they cannot be used to carry out work on the parliamentary estate.

“While we are unable to comment on specific cases, any alleged breach of the rules on passes will be investigated by the House authorities.”

They added: “Anyone carrying out work on the estate must have been through the vetting process and hold a Parliamentary pass. Anyone working on the estate on a visitor pass would be in breach of this rule.”