Revealed: #Conservative PM Ted Heath behind TV documentary used to sway jury in trial of Shrewsbury trade unionists

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Unseen papers show cabinet members promoted a documentary aimed at influencing trial of the ‘Shrewsbury 24’ building workers

Dennis Warren, left, and Ricky Tomlinson in 1975. Both were jailed after being pickets in the 1972 strike by building workers.
Dennis Warren, left, and Ricky Tomlinson in 1975. Both were jailed after being pickets in the 1972 strike by building workers. Photograph: Alamy

Previously unseen documents that implicate former prime minister Edward Heath in a concerted attempt to influence the jury in one of the most controversial prosecutions of trade unionists in British history will be revealed to parliament this week.

It is understood that a dossier of newly unearthed papers suggests that some of the most senior members of Heath’s 1972 Conservative cabinet and members of the security services commissioned and promoted an ITV documentary entitledRed Under the Bed that was screened on the day the jury went out to consider the case against the “Shrewsbury 24”. One of the previously unseen files shows that Heath, on seeing a transcript of the film ahead of the trade unionists’ conviction, informed the cabinet secretary: “We want as much as possible of this.”

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