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Houses of Parliament: Warrants

Volume 707: debated on Monday 26 January 2009

Questions

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government whether any warrant was executed on or behalf of the Secretary of State for the Home Department under the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000 in October, November or December 2008 authorising the interception of communications within the Palace of Westminster in relation to investigations into leaks transmitted to a member of either House of Parliament; and, if so, whether such a warrant was issued in the case of Mr Damian Green MP. [HL269]

To ask Her Majesty's Government under what warrant under the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000 the Metropolitan Police intercepted parliamentary electronic communications in October, November or December 2008. [HL270]

To ask Her Majesty's Government whether the Metropolitan Police approached the Home Office, the Cabinet Office or the Law Officers of the Crown seeking advice on whether a warrant was required to be executed on or behalf of the Secretary of State for the Home Department under the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000 in October or November 2008 authorising the interception of communications within the Palace of Westminster; if so, what reply was given; and at what level it was given. [HL271]

To ask Her Majesty's Government whether it is necessary for the police to obtain a warrant under the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000 to intercept the electronic communications of a member of either House of Parliament. [HL272]

Any interception—the monitoring or interference with a communication during the course of its transmission so as to make it available to a third party, whether police or other agencies—requires a lawful authority.

Such conduct has lawful authority only if it takes place in accordance with a warrant authorised by the Secretary of State.

RIPA places an obligation to keep secret all matters relating to any warrant, including the application, issue and the execution of it. Accordingly it has been the policy of successive Governments neither to confirm nor to deny whether a warrant has been sought or issued.

The Home Secretary confirmed on 4 December 2008 that the Wilson doctrine as outlined by the Prime Minister has not been abrogated. (col. 143).