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Speaker’s Statement

Volume 485: debated on Tuesday 9 December 2008

I undertook to look into the matter of the Wilson doctrine and access to the House of Commons server, which was raised by the hon. Member for Newbury (Mr. Benyon) on 4 December. The Parliamentary Information and Communications Technology service takes the security of its systems very seriously, and is grateful for the support that the Joint Committee on Security, the Administration Committee and the Commission give in that respect. PICT would not allow any third party to access the parliamentary network without proper authority. In the Commons, such access previously required the approval of the Serjeant at Arms. Following my statement on 3 December, if PICT receives any requests to allow access in future, it will also seek confirmation that a warrant exists and that I have approved such access under the procedure laid down and the protocol issued yesterday.

With regard to the incident involving the hon. Member for Ashford (Damian Green), no access was given to data held on the server, as PICT was not instructed to do so by the Serjeant at Arms. No access will be given unless a warrant exists and I approve such access.