Court considers Parliamentary surveillance challenge

On Thursday 23rd July and Friday 24th July, the Investigatory Powers Tribunal considered two linked claims about the interception of communications to and from parliamentarians.  Jude Bunting acted for Caroline Lucas MP and Baroness Jenny Jones.  Rupert Bowers QC and Abigail Bright acted for former MP, George Galloway.

 

At the heart of these claims was the “Wilson Doctrine”, an assurance given by successive Prime Ministers that there would be no tapping or surveillance of members of the Houses of Parliament.  The Investigatory Powers Tribunal heard that the “Wilson Doctrine” had been implemented by a number of different internal policies within the security services.  The applicants claimed that those policies failed to provide adequate protection to the confidentiality of their communications.  They argued that Parliamentarians should receive special protection to reflect their role in acting for their constituents and other whistleblowers.

 

The claims have led to widespread public concern, including in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, following the revelation in court that there is no added protection for the communications of members of the devolved assemblies.

 

Further coverage is available from the Financial Times, the Guardian, the BBC, and the Daily Record. The Green Party press statement on the claim is available here Transcripts of both days of the hearings that were held in open session are here: Thursday 23rd July and Friday 24th July

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