MPs under surveillance
How much are MPs monitored by the surveillance agents of the state? To what extent does their status give them some protection which others do not have?
These questions are raised by the row over the bugging of a conversation between the Labour MP Sadiq Khan and a constituent in jail facing deportation.
Some time ago the BBC used the Freedom of Information to obtain documents from the Metropolitan Police Special Branch which showed how the Police had monitored the campaign activities of the Anti-Apartheid Movement for decades.
One of these documents (from 1984) appears to suggest that the Special Branch did not keep personal files on MPs in the same way it kept numbered files on other named individuals of interest to it.
Another notes that Special Branch did not normally observe meetings inside the Commons, explaining why an exception was made in this case.
But of course the Police did monitor individuals who later became MPs. This report shows that in 1970 Special Branch had a file on Peter Hain, number RF 405/69/702.