Stuart McMillan MSP has raised his own concerns following reports in today’s Daily Record and elsewhere that the Wilson doctrine – which enshrines the confidentiality of MP communications – is no longer also being applied to MSPs, and that communications may have been intercepted by the intelligence agencies.
Mr McMillan is demanding confirmation that the policy has not been changed and that the confidentiality of communications between constituents and himself is being treated just as importantly as that between an MP and constituents.
Reports claim that GCHQ, who are responsible for mass surveillance in Britain, had extended the decades-old Wilson doctrine to MSPs until March of this year.
The convention is named after former Prime Minister Harold Wilson, who pledged in 1966 that MPs’ and peers’ phones would not be tapped.
The First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon, has today written to the Prime Minister to seek urgent assurances that the communications of MSPs have not been intercepted, and to ask if it is true that there has been a change of policy and that GCHQ has ceased to apply the Wilson doctrine to the communications of MSPs.
Commenting Stuart McMillan MSP said:
“The confidentiality of e-mails, letters and phone calls between constituents and myself as an MSP is extremely important to me. The application of the Wilson doctrine to the communications of MSPs has ensured this privacy has been protected from possible interception.
“To now discover that the policy may have changed in March and that the intelligence services may no longer be applying the doctrine to Members of the Scottish Parliament is deeply worrying – not to mention extremely unfair. Confidentiality and privacy is just as important to those constituents who contact their MSPs as it is to those to contact their MPs.
“The Prime Minister must give reassurances that MSPs communications have not been intercepted, and that if their has been a change in policy that it will be reversed immediately, in order that MSPs and MPs are treated equally by all of the intelligence agencies.”
Link to the Daily Record article: http://www.dailyrecord.co.uk/news/scottish-news/snoopgate-scandal-brit-spooks-spying-6127095
Link to Nicola Sturgeon’s letter to the Prime Minister: http://news.scotland.gov.uk/News/FM-demands-assurances-on-MSP-communications-1b6b.aspx