Tuesday, February 05, 2008

UK - MP bugging row escalates

Bugged: Sadiq Kahn and Babar Ahmed

A major row is building between Conservative and Labour politicians after it emerged that an MP was bugged by the British police [BBC]. Sadiq Kahn was under surveillance during a visit to a terror suspect Babar Ahmed. The bugging took place before Mr Kahn became an MP, but continued after he took office. The operation effectively breaks rules on bugging MPs which are outlined in the Wilson Doctrine. The Conservative Shadow Home Secretary, David Davis said the issue made a “liar” of Prime Minister Gordon Brown. But his accusation has drawn strong criticism from Harriet Harman who has called on him to apologize. The BBC has learnt that Justice Secretary Jack Straw and Home Secretary Jacqui Smith had not been aware until the Sunday Times reports emerged this weekend. Mr Davis told BBC Radio 4's Today programme that it was apparent that Mr Straw and Ms Smith were "not in charge of their departments". Amidst all of this the police officer in charge of the bugging operation said he was fearful of his life after his name was leaked to the media. Mark Kearney said he had been under “significant pressure” from senior officers to continue the surveillance despite informing them that the target was now a Member of Parliament [BBC].

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