LONDON – The ruling from the Investigative Powers Tribunal (ITP) has found that MP’s and other parliamentarians’ communications are not protected by intelligence agencies nor by the ‘Wilson Doctrine’
The tribunal’s decision was assisted by the case bought by Green Party MP Caroline Lucas, Baroness Jenny Jones and Former MP George Galloway based on the revelations by Edward Snowden, who showed that the MP’s communications were being spied on.
The Wilson Doctrine was articulated by PM Harold Wilson in 1966, assuring that MP’s calls would not be monitored, but it did not have the force of law.
However, the Doctrine has been reiterated by previous Prime Ministers including Margaret Thatcher, Tony Blair and the current PM David Cameron.
While Downing Street has refused to comment on the whether parliamentarians do have their communications monitored, it has denied that the despite the doctrine being a political statement, it did not mislead MP’s in believing their communications were safe.
The official statement from the IPT was: “The regime for interception of Parliamentarians’ communications is in accordance with the law.’”
After the court’s decision, Caroline Lucas called it a ‘’blow to parliamentary democracy’’ as she alluded to her constituents had ‘’no such protection’’ against surveillance.
Lucas and Jones, along with several privacy groups, are calling for a specific legislation that will protect MP’s communications when the upcoming bill on surveillance comes into debate.
It has been suggested that the decision has paved the way for the Parliament and assemblies to challenge the legitimacy of surveillance, rather than it being just an on-going issue.
– Munifa Rauf, Correspondent (Politics)