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House of Commons Commission

Volume 596: debated on Thursday 4 June 2015

The hon. Member for Mole Valley, representing the House of Commons Commission, was asked—

Before I call the hon. Member for Bassetlaw (John Mann) to ask Question 4, it might be helpful to new Members if I remind the House that, to avoid any possibility of compromising our security, we do not discuss operational security matters on the Floor of the House. The question is perfectly in order, but hon. Members should take account of this constraint in their further exchanges.

Members’ Emails

4. Which House staff or persons authorised by House staff have the ability and authority to view or authorise others to view hon. Members’ emails. (900088)

The short answer is none. The slightly longer answer is that viewing a Member’s emails can be done lawfully only with the consent of the Member, where a circuit judge has made a production order requiring material to be produced, or pursuant to a search warrant and in accordance with the Speaker’s protocol on the execution of a search warrant and the precedent of the House of Commons. Thus, no member of staff, including the parliamentary security director, has both the ability and the authority to view or authorise the viewing of Members’ emails.

I thank the hon. Gentleman for that clarification. Will he confirm that should there be any change in those procedures, he will immediately report such matters to the House?