CONSERVATIVE
New Forest East

JUSTICE – SURVEILLANCE OF MPs – 4 February 2008

[Richard Ottaway: Does the Secretary of State consider that the Wilson doctrine applies to Members of Parliament who have not taken the Oath?

The Secretary of State for Justice and Lord Chancellor (Mr Jack Straw): The Wilson doctrine applies as stated. ... ]

Dr Julian Lewis: Notwithstanding the brevity of the Lord Chancellor's answer to my hon. Friend the Member for Croydon, South (Richard Ottaway), will he expand a little on what the Wilson doctrine actually requires? It clearly requires that an MP should not be targeted for bugging or for telephone tapping. However, is it the case that if the security services are legitimately bugging or tapping the telephone of someone who is a legitimate target for them, the moment that person is found to be talking to a Member of Parliament, the bugging or telephone tapping has to cease, or is it allowed to continue because the MP himself or herself was not being targeted?

[Mr Straw: I am sorry to have to repeat what I said in my statement, but the terms of the Wilson doctrine are as laid down by the then Prime Minister, the late Harold Wilson, who said that he had given instructions that there was to be no tapping of the telephones of Members of Parliament and that if there were a development that required a change of policy, he would, at such a moment as was compatible with the security of the country, make a statement about it. That doctrine has been endorsed and repeated by successive Prime Ministers.]