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Wilson Doctrine - does it apply to an MP's office staff ?

Another "Wilson Doctrine" Parliamentary Question and non-Answer from the Prime Minister:

House of Commons Hansard Written Answers

26 Feb 2007 : Column 1042W:

Prime Minister

Members Staff: Surveillance

Mr. Heald: To ask the Prime Minister whether the Wilson doctrine applies to staff of hon. Members. [123771]

The Prime Minister: I refer the hon. Member to the written ministerial statement I made to the House on 30 March 2006, Official Report, column 95WS.

Oliver Heald MP is the Conservative Opposition front bench spokesman on Constitutional Affairs.

The 30th March 2006 Ministerial Statement did not really clarify anything at all, but Tony Blair did say


I have decided that the Wilson Doctrine should be maintained.

So are the Parliamentary Staff like researchers and secretaries protected, according to the "Wilson Doctrine", from having their communications intercepted, or not ?

They are usually the people who actually deal with the phone calls, faxes, emails and written correspondence between the general public and an MP or Peer.

It would be wrong if the "Wilson Doctrine" privilege extends to any other staff employed by MPs or Peers, i.e. ones who do not handle their communications.

How do the authorities distinguish between the private lives of MPs (which appear to fall under the "Wilson Doctrine") and the private lives of their staff ?

Is this deliberately vague answer due to the current ongoing "cash for honours" scandal involving members of Prime Minister Tony Blair's own inner circle of staff and advisers at Number 10 Downing Street and in the Labour Party ?

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