For release : Wednesday 14th October 2015
Attention: News desks
SALMOND CALLS FOR UK GOV TO MAKE STATEMENT ON IPT RULING
Alex Salmond has raised a point of order in the House of Commons over the Investigatory Powers Tribunal (IPT) ruling on GCHQ’s ability to snoop on MPs communications and its impact on members of devolved administrations.
The IPT ruled today (Wednesday) that the promise, made by all Prime Ministers from Harold Wilson to David Cameron, that the communications of members of the Houses of Parliament would not be intercepted by the security services in not “legally enforceable”.
Mr Salmond raised a point of order about what impact the ruling will have on Members of the Scottish Parliament or Members of the Legislative Assembly of Northern Ireland in the House of Commons today, immediately after Prime Minister’s Question Time.
He pointed out that the guidance to the security services which previously had included members of the devolved administrations and European Parliament, appears to have been recently altered to refer only to MPs and members of the House of Lords.
The issue was previously raised by Mr Salmond in the House of Commons in 2006, and also during his time as First Minister. First Minister Nicola Sturgeon wrote to the Prime Minster in July this year but so far no response has been received.
Commenting, Alex Salmond MP said:
“It is totally unacceptable to me that elected representatives should have their communications monitored. Removing this protection from members of the Westminster parliament and of devolved legislators is dangerous and threatens the very basis of our civil liberties.
“The disdainful response from the UK Government underrates the strength of feeling on this issue. I believe it should be possible to build majority across parliament to enforce respect for this democratic safeguard which has been in place for more than half a century.
“The government should make an urgent statement on the issue particularly given that their own lawyer during the tribunal proceeding stated, that ministerial statements on this issue have been characterise by “ambiguity at best whether deliberate or otherwise”. That is not good enough on an issue that strikes at the heart of the citizen’s right to contact their elected representatives without fear of being spied upon.”