GCHQ is legally allowed to collect and read the private communications of MPs and Lords, a court has ruled, overruling a decades old rule which forbade snooping on Westminster politicians.
In a surprise decision, the Investigatory Powers Tribunal (IPT) said the ‘Wilson doctrine’ did not preclude the bulk collection of data through programs such as Tempora, as exposed by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden.
Green Party MP Caroline Lucas, who brought the issue to court alongside Baroness Jenny Jones, called the ruling a “blow for parliamentary democracy.”
Established by former Labour Prime Minister Harold Wilson in 1966, the rule forbids the interception of communications between MPs and their constituents by police or intelligence agencies.
It came in response to complaints from MPs who were concerned their telephones were being tapped by security services
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