THE “full capacities” of UK security services were used to spy on Yes campaigners in the run-up to the referendum, believes fugitive WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange.

Speaking yesterday by videolink to a Glasgow conference from his hideout in London, Assange said campaigners were “correct” in believing security services were involved.

An expert in surveillance, the Australian said the prospect of independence was a “national security threat” to the UK that would have triggered the “full capacities” of the state spy network.

In the past, Unionists have dismissed claims of spying as “paranoia” but Assange said: “No, they are not at all paranoid.

“They are correct for a number of reasons. The attitude of the UK Government is that this is a national security issue, that Scottish independence is, in effect, a threat to the state.

“This means that the full capacities of the GCHQ, for example, could be deployed.”

As justification for his statements, he said it was clear the Referendum was seen as a threat as the UK Government had tried to muster international support against a Yes vote and civil servants had “compromised their impartiality”.

However, he added that running a spy operation against Yes campaigners would have been tricky because of the number of Scots employed in outfits like MI5.

“There are many Scots employed in these agencies. So care has to be undertaken because Scots in those agencies may well reveal what is being done.”

Assange made his comments yesterday during the Commonwealth Law Conference in Glasgow where he was part of a panel discussing international intelligence gathering, abuse of power and privacy.

The session, which had an audience of 400 international lawyers, considered the implications of the Edward Snowden and WikiLeaks revelations in relation to mass government and corporate surveillance. The conference heard that the revelations that GCHQ was spying on legal correspondence has serious implications for lawyers and judges.

Assange was not able to attend in person as he has been holed up for more than 1,000 days in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London where he has been granted political asylum. The 43-year-old is wanted for espionage because of his revelations through his WikiLeaks website that Western countries and companies were selling surveillance technologies to repressive states. His website also published confidential details about the US, UK and other countries, including information about their role in the Afghanistan and Iraq wars.

He is wanted for questioning in Sweden over allegations of sexual offences, allegations that he denies.

Yesterday’s panel was chaired by Jen Robinson, an Australian human rights lawyer, who has been a member of the legal team for Julian Assange and WikiLeaks since 2010. She has acted in extradition proceedings for Assange and has advised on various WikiLeaks publications.