GCHQ can spy on MPs and Lords, tribunal rules

The Investigatory Power Tribunal (IPT) has rules that MPs and members of the House of Lords do not have special privileges in law protecting them from surveillance by Britain’s spies.

Ms Lucas described it as a “body blow for parliamentary democracy,” adding: “My constituents have a right to know their communications with me aren’t subject to blanket surveillance – yet this ruling suggests they have no such protection.”

The widely held parliamentary convention that there should be no tapping of the phones or computers of MPs and peers – known as the Wilson Doctrine – has no legal basis, the Investigatory Powers Tribunal (IPT) ruled. The ruling clarified a doctrine set out by Labour Prime Minister Harold Wilson in 1966, widely interpreted as saying the phones of MPs or peers could not be intercepted save in a major national emergency. Any change to the doctrine would be reported by the PM to Parliament. But the judges ruled against, saying the Doctrine was not enforceable in law. Mr Justice Burton, IPT President, said MPs’ communications with constituents and others were protected, like those of every person, by rules laid down in the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000.

You can read the full judgement Caroline_Lucas_JUDGMENT

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