Scotland Yard was not breaking the law when it bugged a Muslim MP on two separate occasions as he visited a constituent in prison, an official report released today has found.
The report shows that police monitored conversations between Labour MP for Tooting, Sadiq Khan, while he was meeting Babar Ahmad, a terrorism suspect, in prison.
However the report, by Sir Christopher Rose, the surveillance commissioner, cleared Scotland Yard of any wrongdoing after concerns were raised that the operation may have broken the law.
It found that Khan’s discussions with Ahmad in Woodhill prison were bugged on two separate occasions between May 21 2005 and in June 2006 and will show that police officers at all levels were aware of the ongoing operation.
However, the report shows that the police followed all relevant procedures and that the so-called Wilson’s doctrine, which forbids the bugging of MPs, had not been broken.
Speaking to the Commons today, the Home Secretary Jacqui Smith said that ‘correct procedure’ had been followed at all times.
She said that ‘intrusive surveillance of Babar Ahmed was warranted’ and that the bugging had been ‘properly authorised.’
She added that the bugging in no way required the knowledge of a Home Secretary. In the wake of the discovery that Khan had been bugged, it had been claimed that Jack Straw, then Home Secretary, had been aware of the operation.
A former policeman turned whistleblower,Mark Kearney, confirmed earlier this month that he had been asked to carry out the recording.
The former sergeant said he became afraid after the secret bugging operation was made public.
“I believe it puts my life and safety at risk,” he claimed.
Mr Kearney alleged that he was ordered to bug Mr Khan and came under “significant pressure” from the Metropolitan Police to go ahead despite his ethical objections.
Speaking to the BBC after his role was revealed he said: “I’d like to say that I’m shocked and disgusted by this leak to the media.”
Mr Kearney’s allegations have raised questions over whether the Yard deliberately set out to eavesdrop on Mr Khan, a former human rights lawyer who is now a rising Muslim Labour MP.
Jack Straw called for the Rose inquiry into the bugging two weeks ago after the prospect was raised that the Wilson doctrine may have been broken.