No 10 accused of ignoring MP bugging warning
Jack Straw, the Justice Secretary, has launched a formal inquiry into claims a senior Labour Muslim MP had been bugged during private meetings with a constituent.
Scotland Yard is alleged to have eavesdropped on meetings between Sadiq Khan, a Government whip, and a terrorist suspect currently being held in prison. The police and security services have been barred from bugging MPs for more than 40 years.
Gordon Brown has been accused of ignoring warnings that Mr Khan was being bugged after it emerged that shadow home secretary David Davis had written to the Prime Minister in December warning him of the situation.
Mr Brown on Sunday claimed he was unaware of the letter and Downing Street said it had not been received but Mr Davis has published the letter in full.
It is claimed that conversations between Mr Khan and Babar Ahmad, who is facing deportation to the United States amid accusations he ran a website raising funds for Taliban and Chechen terrorists, were covertly recorded during prison visits made by the MP.
The table used for the meeting is reported to have contained hidden microphones and questions are now being raised as to whether the bugging operation was authorised by the Home Secretary Jacqui Smith or Sir Ian Blair, the commissioner of the Metropolitan Police.
Mr Khan is a childhood friend of Mr Ahmad and has campaigned against his extradition.
The disclosure is highly embarrassing for the Government as Mr Khan is a prominent Muslim.
Since 1966, the “Wilson Doctrine” has stipulated that the telephones of Members of Parliament would not be tapped and this policy has been recently confirmed by the Government.