Bob Lambert Resigns Academic Posts

Protest against Bob Lambert's employment at London Metropolitan University, March 2015

Protest against Bob Lambert’s employment at London Metropolitan University, March 2015

Former spycops officer – and later boss – Bob Lambert has resigned from both his positions at British universities.

It comes after more than a year of pressure on the University of St Andrews – where COPS gave a presentation on Lambert in March – culminating in a letter two weeks ago from four prominent activists including George Monbiot, who holds an honorary doctorate from the univesity.

Lambert’s other employer, London Metropolitan University, has seen even more intensive activity. As well as having the COPS presentation on Lambert to staff and students, there have been monthly pickets as part of a dedicated campaign that has made the controversy front page news.

As a Special Demonstration Squad officer, Lambert was deployed into the animal rights movement in the early 80s. He had sexual relationships with four women whilst undercover, including fathering a planned child with one. He co-wrote the What’s Wrong With McDonald’s? leaflet that triggered the McLibel trial, yet kept his role and that of the SDS from the court. He was part of an Animal Liberation Front cell that firebombed department stores that sold fur, and stands accused of planting the devices that burned down Debenhams in Harrow.

Afterwards, he was promoted to running the SDS, where his officers also had long-term life-partner relationships. He oversaw the spying on the the family of Stephen Lawrence and many similar black and family justice campaigns, as well as Labour MPs including Jeremy Corbyn.

His hiring to academic positions teaching counter-terrorism and criminology to future police managers is entirely at odds with the disgraced history of the man, his methods and his unit. As Observer columnist Nick Cohen put it, Lambert was ‘uniquely unqualified’ for his positions.

The story broke yesterday in the University of St Andrews’ newspaper The Saint. Outgoing principal Louise Richardson said

I’m not going to get involved in what people do privately

That is a bizarre response to what Lambert did on duty as a paid public servant.

Lambert was also employed by Exeter University, embarking on a ten year project, but resigned in 2011 shortly after he was exposed. The university has rebuffed inquiries as to why. Likewise, this week London Met refused to say why he had resigned.

Today’s Guardian quotes Lambert saying

Henceforward I will pursue my academic interests in responses to terrorism and political violence as an independent researcher. I will also continue to cooperate with the investigations and inquiry into undercover policing.

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