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Something's bugging me...

Nick Robinson | 09:20 UK time, Tuesday, 5 February 2008

Sometimes in this job you stumble into a subject about which you know very little and emerge, well, confused. Then you suddenly realise that this is entirely intentional. Clarity is sometimes the last thing governments want when handling tricky questions. So it is has been over the years with the issue of bugging MPs (or intercepting their communications which, I now realise, is very different). To be fair to the Justice Secretary Jack Straw if you listened to him very carefully and then read what he had to say several times the fog did begin to clear (a little).

So here goes:

Jack StrawThe "Wilson doctrine" does not ban the bugging of MPs. In fact, it bans nothing at all since Wilson's words were a masterpiece of civil service drafting which said, in effect, "we won't tap the phones of MPs... unless we do... then we'll tell Parliament about it... when and if it's safe to do so".

Two years ago the cabinet debated scrapping the doctrine. They tried to write a new, clearer set of rules. These would have allowing the bugging of MPs, like the rest of us, if this was justified by threats to national security or suspected criminal activity but protecting their dealings with a constituent and their conversations in Parliament itself.

This was abandoned, I was told by some of those involved, because the ambiguity inherent in the Wilson doctrine would have been revealed. It would, in the words of one source, have "opened a can of worms" ie ministers would have been forced to reveal that they had tapped the phones of those still, at that time, involved in the search of a political settlement in Northern Ireland. Another told me that the doctrine was helpfully vague and that the last thing ministers needed was a discussion of what was or was not allowed.

The "Wilson doctrine" does not ban all monitoring of what MPs say in private. Up until now I've used the word "bugging" rather loosely. The law distinguishes between intercepts (that's phone and email tapping to you and me) and eavesdropping (a bug in a public place).

The doctrine only relates to anything that requires a ministerial order ie intercepts and bugging which is carried out by the security services but not the police. This stems from the history of the doctrine which arose from fears that the security services could be used by government to target their political opponents.

Sadiq KhanSo, police bugging is not covered by the Wilson doctrine. Why, then, did Jack Straw condemn the bugging by the police of Sadiq Khan MP and order an inquiry into it? Ministers, I'm told, want to be sure that Khan, rather than the prisoner he was visiting, was not the subject of the bugging.

Khan was disliked by senior officers in the Met because of his role as a lawyer who'd represented black officers involved in legal actions against their bosses. His work as a civil liberties campaigner made him a thorn in the Met's side. As I reported last night, some police officers regarded him as "a subversive". However, there is, as yet, no evidence he was the target of the bugging and, indeed, sources in the police and security services deny it.

If the enquiry confirms this there will still be questions about whether the police should have continued their bugging operation once they realised an MP was involved and why ministers only discovered what was going on thanks to media enquiries and not from the police, prison authorities or their own officials who'd known for weeks, if not months.

One thing his case is likely to produce is some answers (yes, only some) and a little (yes, just a little) more clarity about what is and what is not allowed.


  • 1.
  • At 09:46 AM on 05 Feb 2008,
  • Mandeep wrote:


You're missing the point by indicating the debate should be whether we should bug MP's if there is "perceived threat to national security".

This has never been about national security, and to suggest otherwise picks on Sadiq Khan . This was a constituency matter for a British citizen who faces no British charges. In fact, if "national security" was an issue then the unelected police would have a right to spy on every cabinet meeting, every meeting with a foreign leader and almost any national issue they wanted.Let the debate not be about national security, but about a police state.

  • 2.
  • At 09:52 AM on 05 Feb 2008,
  • MikeA wrote:

Nick, are dealing with intelligence matters here so expect to be confused. All statements by the government will most likely be a falsehood with the knowing connivance of their media narks.
If you believe a rogue policeman Mr Kearney bugged the terrorist-supporter suspect or Mr. Khan you are seriously naieve.
This has all the hallmarks of an intelligence op against Mr. Khan. If I was Mr. Khan I would a) change the sim cards in my mobiles b) assume my landlines are bugged c) assume my emails are being monitored d) assume both my home and office are bugged
There are a couple of key questions here:
- who santioned an intelligence op against Mr Khan. The chief constable of Thames Valley Police. I don't think so.....
and the biggie:
- why was such an op sanctioned; why do the security services think Mr. Khan is a threat to national security? Is such an individual suitable to be a junior minister?
However I could be wrong. This is an intelligence op so it's a mystery wrapped in an enigma hidden behind a falsehood and protected by a bodyguard of lies.

  • 3.
  • At 10:08 AM on 05 Feb 2008,
  • J Courtney wrote:

This story was leaked to the media. David Davis seems to know more about the incident than anyone else, along with a traditionally right wing Sunday newspaper. You don’t need to be a genius to work out were the leak came from.

  • 4.
  • At 10:20 AM on 05 Feb 2008,
  • jim evans wrote:

Dear Nick

Under the NEW, terrorism laws Survellance IS allowed, thats why Ministers are staying stum ???

  • 5.
  • At 10:20 AM on 05 Feb 2008,
  • David Evans wrote:

The mere suggestion that the Met didn't like Mr Khan is exactly why this type of activity needs to be put under proper control. We elect these people, and they live and die by our whims, and yet we fail to recognise the important role they have to play.

  • 6.
  • At 10:28 AM on 05 Feb 2008,
  • Pig Man Pig wrote:

It's all happening, isn't it? The Peter Hain sideshow (Remember him!)seems like it was weeks ago, Nick! To be honest with you I'm losing track of what's going on in British politics, what with all the shady dealings and the fog and the fug. At times like these I always find it helps to fall back to my default setting of not trusting a single word any politician says (I know that that's unfair to that most rare bird the honest British MP, but better that than be suckered in once again by the our more porcine representatives!)
How depressing! And PFI isn't even an issue yet!

  • 7.
  • At 10:38 AM on 05 Feb 2008,
  • Martin wrote:

I think the issue is less about the bugging of MPs (why should they have different rules; on anything?). It is more about the freedom the police and other authorities have to bug/intercept all of us it would seem, from recent figures, pretty much at will.

Unusually I find myself in agreement with Tony Benn. A Police State is one where the police make the decisions about these matters. That sound very much like Britain today.

We have been sleepwlaking into giving up our civil liberites and rights by the creation of a climate of fear by an unholy alliance of politicians, police and the media.

this debate (leak report) doing no good to any stakeholder including Tories, Labours and much targetted minorities -- shed it away and move on to something productive - thats the message we should pass on to the politicians and Media

  • 9.
  • At 10:39 AM on 05 Feb 2008,
  • Philip Hatcher wrote:

Is this really an attempt to deflect our attention from The Conway Affair and take the heat of the expensesof MPs?

  • 10.
  • At 10:40 AM on 05 Feb 2008,
  • Charles E Hardwidge wrote:

You comments clarifying the Wilson Doctrine were pretty much my own understanding of what it meant. The problems start emerging when people add their own interpretations. They see what they want to see, hear what they want to hear, and say what they want to say. The frothing indignation by some MP's, media, and public is just so much ego boiling off.

Justice Secretary Jack Straw can be a little sharp and political at times. His comments in The Guardian that stood up for the government's line on the Human Rights Act, defending it against claims that is was a criminals charter, were sound but only a partial view. This latest effort by Straw has a similar look and feel to it. His comment is just a practical response.

What interests me is the reality, reasoning, and reactions of situations. Often, we reason out of habit. Poor habit leads to poor response, and so on, and so forth. In Zen terms this much ado about nothing is just another raft to enlightenment. If politicians, media, and public can get on the same page as reality, I think, this will have been an opportunity.

Judges have a nasty habit of retrofitting precedent which tilts towards favouring authority and big business to the Human Rights Act, along with the usual risk averse hand wringing towards criminals. The depressing subconscious of the British legal system is a real barrier to government and people. This situation may indirectly cast some light on that.

  • 11.
  • At 10:48 AM on 05 Feb 2008,
  • Neil Small wrote:

The person that is confused is the MP in question. He is acting like a lawyer rather than a "friend" to the individual concerned.

If I remember rightly, conversations between a lawyer and a client are priviledged - those between an MP and a constituent are not in a legal sense. For example: if a constituent told his/her MP that they had murdered someone, the MP is legally bound to inform the authorities.

The media as usual has blown this issue up under the "police state" headline, which it is not.

  • 12.
  • At 10:57 AM on 05 Feb 2008,
  • Robin wrote:

Has any government in history brought the paliamentary process into disrepute so swiftly as this one?

They break all the records for the most self inflicted damage with the least possible concern for the reaction of the voters. No wonder the blesssed leader has been compared to Stalin.

  • 13.
  • At 10:58 AM on 05 Feb 2008,
  • Jeremy wrote:

Thanks Nick,
I cannot tell you how much sleep I have lost over the the bugging of MPs.
Until someone decides to address the much wider issue of the surveillance society, I won't care either.
In the last ten years we have become the most snooped upon society in the so called civilized world, all at the behest of a centralist control freak government who seeks to monitor our every move.
When can we expect the "Thought Police" to arrive?

  • 14.
  • At 10:59 AM on 05 Feb 2008,
  • James wrote:

Is there not something to be made of the fact that there was no ministerial oversight of the bugging of an MP - especially as it was Jack Straw who pushed through the RIP act in the first place, which in part certainly covers this.

There is a wider issue at stake here that needs clarification - from the tone of the articles I'm reading, it is acceptable to bug a converstation between a suspect and his lawyer. How can a person receive a fair defence if he can't be completely open and honest with the person representing him? To those who would bleat about gathering possible hypothetical maybe intelligence about a perhaps unlikely could be sometime terrorist attack, it is a statistical certainty that more people will be harmed by such an action than by not gathering the intelligence by other means. I'm not advocating the complete suspension of surveillance, but let's not throw the baby out with the bath water here - letting things get this far is a victory for terrorism, not for democracy.

  • 15.
  • At 11:12 AM on 05 Feb 2008,
  • James Holden wrote:

What I find interesting about this story along with a number of other 'crises' that have hit the government in the last few months (such as the funding issues) is that they all seem to have their roots in the Blair era of government.

Whilst I am not suggesting that the current government is blameless for all these goings on (after all many of the people currently in senior positions were also deeply involved in the Blair years) should we not be questioning Mr Blair's involvement in all of this and thereby challenging further the political legacy he has built for himself?

  • 16.
  • At 11:17 AM on 05 Feb 2008,
  • vera howarth wrote:

hi nick,
I am not as much concerned as to the rights and wrongs of bugging,as I am with national security.In todays climate I want to know who is trustworthy and who is not.
In addition, I feel that the police are expected to their job with their hands tied as it is.
It would be hoped that MPs were not acting against the countries interest but if the suspicion is there we need to know.

  • 17.
  • At 11:26 AM on 05 Feb 2008,
  • Seamus, ex-Pat in Warsaw wrote:

The "Wilson doctrine" ... said, in effect, "we won't tap the phones of MPs... unless we do... then we'll tell Parliament about it... when and if it's safe to do so".
Nick, is this the earliest known occurence of Labour spin?

  • 18.
  • At 11:36 AM on 05 Feb 2008,
  • James Holden wrote:

What I find interesting about this story along with a number of other 'crises' that have hit the government in the last few months (such as the funding issues) is that they all seem to have their roots in the Blair era of government.

Whilst I am not suggesting that the current government is blameless for all these goings on (after all many of the people currently in senior positions were also deeply involved in the Blair years) should we not be questioning Mr Blair's involvement in all of this and thereby challenging further the political legacy he has built for himself?

God of Irony at work here, I reckon.

Sadiq Khan, for all his good work prior to becoming an MP, voted very strongly for introducing ID cards, voted strongly for Labour's anti-terrorism laws and has never voted on a transparent Parliament.

So, Sadiq, as I believe we the public have been told repeatedly, if you've got nothing to hide, then you've got nothing to fear, have you?

  • 20.
  • At 11:38 AM on 05 Feb 2008,
  • David wrote:

Nick you call this bugging issue a fog, I'd call it smoke and mirrors. A useful distraction from the behaviour of MPs and the very dubious decision to instigate an internal investigation into their expenses. I don't believe the public gives a fig about them being bugged; in fact I would suggest that, in light of recent events,the majority would welcome it!

  • 21.
  • At 11:40 AM on 05 Feb 2008,
  • Andy A wrote:

Having had some involvement with these processes, although not this case, I am at something of a loss as to what all the fuss is about.

Firstly, the 'Wilson doctrine' dates from a time when there was no legal framework around telephone tapping - it was essentially a matter for ministerial and intelligence discretion. Remembering the 'Spycatcher' affair, there was some talk at the time of the security agencies carrying out surveillance of 'normal' (i.e. not 'extremist') politicians, including Jack Straw and Charles Clarke, I recall. The doctrine was therefore a clear attempt to draw a line beyond which the agencies could not go.

However, since the Interception of Communications Act 1985, the Intelligence Agencies Act of 1994, the Police Act 1997 and finally RIPA (the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000), all of these activities are now subject to oversight at senior levels within law enforcement and the agencies, with all RIPA Part I (interception of communications, ie tapping of phones & e-mail and postal intercepts) allowable only under ministerial warrant.

Other applications for so-called 'intrusive surveillance' (which is what happened here) may be approved by 'senior authorising officers', ie police officers of Superintendent rank, and must then go to a Surveillance Commissioner (a serving or former High Court judge) for countersignature. Obviously, in this case, both the superintendent and the Commissioner considered the matter serious enough (we are talking about a terrorist suspect, remember) to authorise the surveillance.

Obviously this is a very different regime to that in the 60s, but like so many things put in place for temporary convenience (the Barnett formula springs to mind), it has lasted so long it has become almost impossible to change.

Interestingly, if this was a 'social' rather than a 'constituency' visit, why should it not be bugged? Surely any form of convention (and, as set out in your piece, the Wilson doctrine does not apply here) applies to MPS in their official, and not private, capacity?

  • 22.
  • At 11:43 AM on 05 Feb 2008,
  • sean wrote:

Why not bug the buggers!

Whilst you are at it check their expenses, tax returns and family employees.

What have they to be afraid of?
They are quite happy to pile on the surveilance on the voters, whilst picking their pockets.

Time after time our Honorable Gentlemen show that they are anything but!

  • 23.
  • At 11:52 AM on 05 Feb 2008,
  • Max Sceptic wrote:

The politics may be interesting to the denizens of the Westminster Village, but the average Joe (like me) probably believes that if any and all of the suspected terrorist Ahmed Babar's communications were not being bugged, then the security services weren't doing their job.

It's not about paranoia. People are trying to blow us up.

  • 24.
  • At 11:55 AM on 05 Feb 2008,
  • Jacques Cartier wrote:

Or perhaps they were just trying to find out if he was hiring his children as special advisers!

  • 25.
  • At 12:03 PM on 05 Feb 2008,
  • Watching who and why wrote:

It's always interesting to see that when issues like this come to the public to discuss, the automatic assumption is that the security services are at fault. Some might argue that's exactly what they are there for and frankly having watched MPs for the last 35 years, it's more likely they're involved in dubious goings-on than anyone else. How the hell does Mandeep know there are no issues of national security? The prisoner's online activities certainly make me want to know a little more at least.

  • 26.
  • At 12:11 PM on 05 Feb 2008,
  • Geraint wrote:

Since when have NuLab not walked all over the laws they have even passed themselves. This is an old understanding and therefore open to interpretation is what Mr Straw has said.
May the Lord have mercy upon us!

  • 27.
  • At 12:14 PM on 05 Feb 2008,
  • Bill wrote:

After listening to the debate I think MPs should be allowed to speak to their constituents with total confidentiality. But there must be a proviso that if something is admitted that reflects on national security then the MP is duty bound to disclose that information.
However, with most things in politics, other issues have arisen. How come David Davis knew the MP was to be bugged? Why only a letter to the Prime Minister? Why didn't he pursue the matter when he did not get a reply?
He now says that Jack Straw has lost control of his dept because people made (illegal) decisions and not to inform him. By this criteria David Cameron has lost control of the Tory party.

  • 28.
  • At 12:21 PM on 05 Feb 2008,
  • rwendland wrote:

Don't forget Babar Ahmad has a civil case against the Met, as the The Sunday Times reported:

"The two men also talked about the civil case he was taking against the police, alleging that he was physically assaulted by officers when he was first arrested in December 2003 and released without charge."

Could some in the Met have an interest in these conversations?

The Babar Ahmad website has alleged photos of injuries from the alleged assault.

  • 29.
  • At 12:26 PM on 05 Feb 2008,
  • Paul Clark wrote:

Dear Nick, may I ask you one question, do you believe that politicians rights are more important than National security? A simple answer please,YES OR NO.

  • 30.
  • At 12:34 PM on 05 Feb 2008,
  • Mark wrote:

Funny,whilst there seems to be confusion (deliberate or otherwise)on who authorised what, how come all news bulletins on this matter are so emphatic that ministers knew nothing about this and why do they have to keep mentioning this in their bulletins. A few days ago Gordon Brown never "received" a letter from David Davies warning him about this bugging back in December? Incompetence or worse?
Amazing how when these almost weekly scandals erupt, ministers rush to state they know nothing but when there is the rare bit of good news, these same ministers are all over the airwaves taking the credit.
The forthcoming Chinese year of the rat and sinking ships would be a good moniker for this Labour government.

  • 31.
  • At 12:51 PM on 05 Feb 2008,
  • Scott wrote:

I seem to recall a recent BBC News feature relating to a Radio 4 programme on security last year in which bugging and authorisation was discussed, using comments from David Blunkett regarding approvals for bugging and suchlike:

That seems to suggest that the Home Secretary is involved in such approvals in all cases. So why not this time? Especially as the bugging involved an MP - someone I'm sure the police would want to ensure they had top level approval to bug? In this day and age, people want to make sure their backsides are covered...

So either the ministers involved knew of the bugging and are trying to deny it and cover it up with an "inquiry", or the ministers have no control over their departments or any idea what they're doing. Either way, this is extreme incompetence!

  • 32.
  • At 01:08 PM on 05 Feb 2008,
  • Alan McMaster wrote:

MP's bleating about their rights and immunities - these are elected people, elected to act in the best interests of their constituants and the community in general.

They are accountable to us - the UK citizen - nothing that any of them they say or do can be above the law nor can their actions take place behind closed doors.

Khan knew he was visiting a terror suspect, knowing that his visit was at best controversial, not to say suspicious. And for what reason did he visit?

If he visited him as his MP then he was wrong to do so - or does he visit all his constituents that find themselves in jail?

If it was as his appointed lawyer (which it does not appear to be) then only then does confidentiality comes into play.

If it was as his friend then I believe it was right to record what was said if possible.

And now Khan is wide-eyed innocently claiming infringement of a very dubious right as an MP. He knew what he was doing, still does.

Funny how he is more outraged and noisy about the alledged infringement of his MP status than he is about proving the innocence of his constituent...

The principle is not about MP rights, it is about who of us should be able to claim the right not to be questioned about our actions or discussions? Certainly not MP's of any description or office!

  • 33.
  • At 01:43 PM on 05 Feb 2008,
  • Niall Litchfield wrote:


It isn't especially about politician's rights over National Security - though the fact that the Nation involved is the United States since Britain doesn't consider Mr Khan's constituent a terrorist suspect - we are holding him for people who do.

It's about the surveilance society. Right now if your local authority decides that you may have committed a criminal offence over which it has jurisdiction (say fly-tipping) it can and likely will bug you. If your local Police decide that you are a person of interest they can, and likely will by the looks of it, bug you. The security services will carry on in their usual way - and probably are most suited to make the decisions to tell the truth.

History shows us that Councils aren't necessarily well run or immune from corruption, that Police often operate under somewhat irrational prejudice and close ranks when mistakes are made (see the case of the 82year old arthritic OBE and church goer who apparently assaulted two policemen after midnight mass in Kent recently). Granting either of these groups of people ill-defined and poorly supervised spying powers is the real issue here.

  • 34.
  • At 02:14 PM on 05 Feb 2008,
  • IAN wrote:


Thanks for the summary. Its pretty obvious that Khan was not the target and was simply in the wrong place at the wrong time. However, today's BBC Magazine has the following to say: "A code known as the Wilson Doctrine forbids the covert recording of conversations between MPs and their constituents". Some corporate consistency would be good!

  • 35.
  • At 04:31 PM on 05 Feb 2008,
  • Tipu Sattar wrote:

Is this a case of you get what you pay for? IIRC Mr. Khan did the following:

- Voted very strongly for introducing ID cards.
- Voted strongly for Labour's anti-terrorism laws.
- Voted very strongly against investigating the Iraq war.

In an ideal world I wouldnt have any problems with a police state. However it's reasons like 'Met didn't like Mr Khan' that people are against the idea.

  • 36.
  • At 04:36 PM on 05 Feb 2008,
  • Tony wrote:

I'm sorry - is it just me, or is Mr Straw beginning to look more and more like Norman Wisdom with each passing day (I wish he'd kept his glasses). And aren't the rest of the government beginning to act like Norman too?

This parliament is turning into one long slapsitck show, and the rest of the world is laughing at us.

Who knows what the truth is regarding Mr Brown's competence - but if he doesn't turn the press around soon, its not just the economy we will be worrying about.

  • 37.
  • At 04:39 PM on 05 Feb 2008,
  • Shaun Forsdyke wrote:

The term "The right honourable gentlemen" lost it's way many years ago. No individuel should be above any law, so MP's and suspected law breakers should not be excempt any type of surveilance! Get used to it and then some "Right Honourable gentlemen" may re-emerge!

  • 38.
  • At 04:44 PM on 05 Feb 2008,
  • GrumpyOldMan wrote:

Whilst the retired Sergeant Mark Kearney seems to have been hung out to dry in respect of his 'bugging' of Khan, presumably he did not do this off his own back. If he did not, then a formal application under the terms of RIPA would have been made & signed by several other officers, possibly including a Superintendent & mabey even the Chief Constable. What is also not clear is in what capacity was Khan visiting a terrorist suspect, as a lawyer (if that was the case then he would not have met him in a visiting room), as an MP, or as a lifelong friend. I guess only a transcript of the meeting will show this!

  • 39.
  • At 04:45 PM on 05 Feb 2008,
  • Jim Midlands wrote:

David Davis stated on BBC site

“I thought the only proper thing to do was to notify the prime minister in confidence, which is what I did”

Davis sent an unregistered letter regarding national security in the post. And in the letter he doesn’t actual name any of the key players in the bugging story.

My conclusion, David Davis never sent the letter in the first place.

  • 40.
  • At 05:29 PM on 05 Feb 2008,
  • Jel wrote:

This was supposed to be under the authority of a senior copper and the review board, not some jumped-up sergeant. The Met are staying stumm, and every top cop's playing ostrich. 0 for responsibility, the lot of them.

  • 41.
  • At 05:47 PM on 05 Feb 2008,
  • L.J. PAGE wrote:

Legislators who are afraid of well defined legislation in case it restricts their ability to do what THEY think is necessary!! What a mess. Then they have the nerve to criticise Police who have to work with this dogs dinner.

  • 42.
  • At 05:50 PM on 05 Feb 2008,
  • Geoff Berry wrote:


I agree 100% with #30.

Policians and the media are pumping up this as an MPs privilege issue.

Get it right please.

A lawyer with a record of being interested in defending alleged terrorists meets a friend/client waiting extradition to the USA to face terrorist charges in HMPrison.

It is irrelevant whether the lawyer is an MP or the next Political Editor of BBC TV he has been bugged acting in the role OF A LAWYER because of the circumstances of the HMPmeeting.

It would be very interesting to release the content transcript of the bugging and clear Mr Khan of any unjustified suspicion.

Mr Davis has attempted to embarress Mr Khan and the government whilst making a fool of himself.

National security, even at this low level, is always more important than our useless MPs ego and the Six O'Clock news.

  • 43.
  • At 06:08 PM on 05 Feb 2008,
  • Michael Turner wrote:

The point everyone is missing is that intrusive surveillance, which must have been personally authorised by the Chief Constable of Thames Valley must also have been read and approved by the Surveillance Commissioner. They scrutinise applications very carefully and in particular look for danger of 'collteral intrusion' catching something - like a privileged conversation - outside the terms of the application and always insist on a plan to deal with it.

  • 44.
  • At 06:33 PM on 05 Feb 2008,
  • Peter W. wrote:

David Davis assertion that Brown is a 'liar' over this profoundly serious issue is unprecedented in politics. Brown should surely be in a position to refute the allegation in its entirity. If he cannot, he should be forced to resign as P.M. call an immediate election and hand the reins on to someone of untarnished integrity- David Cameron!

  • 45.
  • At 08:55 PM on 05 Feb 2008,
  • dashabout wrote:

Hi Nick,
The one thing that puzzles me is the amount of things we hear that shows Jack Straw knew nothing about, or was not told about this incident. People and events are almost falling over themselves to tell us the truth which proves that "teflon" Jack is an innocent bystander in all this.
As someone that is employed by the MOJ we should be looking at the ministers involvement a little deeper and the truth shall out!

  • 46.
  • At 09:21 AM on 06 Feb 2008,
  • Tom Fullery wrote:

Tit for tat now, GB has just ordered his Reds to copy the blues and declair if they are employing relly's!
May be he was bugging the Blue's.
It would be so nice to wake up one day and read that an MP had said "Yes i did pay my family, lover or friends money for doing nothing. I did claim expenses i shouldn't have. I know it is imoral but i didn't want to rock the boat in the house and spoil the other MP's from being able to claim massive expenses! And yes I did recieve payments for questions"

I don't know why this bugging issue has come as such a shock to everyone. It was common knowledge whilst I was in prison that the visit room was bugged. This is why any sensitive information was exchanged in the form of handwritten notes with the visitor, to avoid the authorities gaining an unfair advantage from having access to my intended legal action.

This interference in communication with those outside the prison was not limited to the visit room. A sequence of several of my solicitor's privileged letters went missing at a critical point in my legal case. Letters to Members of Parliament were not considered "priviliged" and had to be passed unsealed for reading by the prison censor. So any thought that a prisoner could have private correspondence with their MP went right out of the window.

My MP Andrew Mackinlay visited me on two occasions at HMP Full Sutton, and we discussed many issues about sensitive aspects of my conviction for espionage, for which I was serving a sentence of 20 years. It is interesting that shortly after one of these meetings, and following some parliamentary questions by Mr Mackinlay, his home in Tilbury was burgled, and Mr Mackinlay was of the opinion that the Security Service were implicated in this - you can see his cryptic comment in Hansard for 26 October 1999.

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