19 February 2024
Sir Geoffrey Clifton-Brown backs measures in the Investigatory Powers (Amendment) Bill

Sir Geoffrey Clifton-Brown intervenes in the Second Reading debate of the Investigatory Powers (Amendment) Bill to support legislation that puts into law the existing triple lock that protects MPs’ correspondence from arbitrary surveillance by the security services.

Sir Geoffrey Clifton-Brown (The Cotswolds) (Con)

Is the hon. Lady aware that the Wilson doctrine is still in operation? This came about in the ’60s and ’70s when Harold Wilson, the Prime Minister of the day, gave an undertaking to this House that the mail of Members of Parliament would not be routinely tapped; it would happen only in exceptional circumstances. All this triple lock is doing is putting that doctrine on to a statutory footing.

Dame Angela Eagle (Wallasey) (Lab)

I thank the hon. Gentleman for his comments. Obviously, the Wilson doctrine is in the previous Investigatory Powers Act. However, given what happened with the incapacity of the Prime Minister during the covid pandemic, we are seeking to tweak it. It seems sensible to do so, but we need to tweak it in a way that is as narrow as possible to ensure that there is no lacuna in protection.