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Tapping the Telephones of Members of Parliament: The 'Wilson Doctrine' and Parliamentary Privilege

Kirkpatrick, Jane; Defty, Andrew; Bochel, Hugh


Andrew Defty

Hugh Bochel


In 1966, in what has become known as the Wilson Doctrine, the Prime Minister, Harold Wilson, informed Parliament that he had issued an instruction that the telephones of parliamentarians were not to be intercepted by the intelligence and security agencies. Subsequent Prime Ministers have all expressed their continued commitment to the Wilson Doctrine. This article examines the nature and limitations of the Wilson Doctrine, and its continued application in the context of recent legislative changes and a number of prominent recent cases. It focuses on apparent changes to the scope and attempts to set aside the Wilson Doctrine under the Blair government and the implications of the interception of the communications of Sinn Fein Members of Parliament, and the bugging of meetings involving the Labour MP Sadiq Khan. © 2013 Taylor & Francis.

Journal Article Type Article
Publication Date Jan 1, 2014
Journal Intelligence and National Security
Print ISSN 0268-4527
Electronic ISSN 1743-9019
Publisher Taylor & Francis (Routledge)
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 29
Issue 5
Pages 675-697
APA6 Citation Kirkpatrick, J., Defty, A., & Bochel, H. (2014). Tapping the Telephones of Members of Parliament: The 'Wilson Doctrine' and Parliamentary Privilege. Intelligence and National Security, 29(5), 675-697.
Publisher URL
Additional Information Peer Review Statement: The publishing and review policy for this title is described in its Aims & Scope.; Aim & Scope: http://www.tandfonline....cope&journalCode=fint20