Caroline Lucas MP, Baroness Jones of Moulsecoomb AM, George Galloway vs. the Security Service, SIS, GCHQ 2017 1AER 283

IPT/14/79/CH IPT/14/80/CH IPT/14/172/CH

The Tribunal considered the existence and status of the Harold Wilson Doctrine (‘the Wilson Doctrine’). This was born out of a statement made on 20 June 1966 by the then Prime Minister to the House of Commons to the effect that the telephones of MPs (later extended to Peers) would not be tapped, i.e. apparently giving to Parliamentarians immunity from interception.

The Tribunal concluded that the Wilson Doctrine was not an absolute one. It did not apply to prevent the issue of interception warrants under Section 8(4) of RIPA i.e. as opposed to deliberately targeted warrants under Section 8(1); nor did it apply to incidental interception of Parliamentarians’ communications. It further ruled that in any event the Doctrine has no legal effect.

However, the Tribunal noted that the SIAs do in fact already have codes and guidance (disclosed in the proceedings), which impose considerable preconditions and precautions before Parliamentarians’ communications could be accessed, with which they are obliged to comply. It concluded that the regime for the interception of Parliamentarians’ communications complies with the Convention.

Judgment dated : 14 Oct 15

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