As Jack Straw did not want to answer Andrew Mackinlay's previous question, there is now an opportunity to ask another. Jack Straw's previous answer used the excuse that covert surveillance could not be commented on, and that it was covered by the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act (2000). As the RIPA does not appear to be retrospective, it could not apply to my meeting with Andrew Mackinlay in 1999, hence the opportunity to ask Jack Straw a new question on 9 June, as printed below:
213 Andrew Mackinlay (Thurrock): To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, pursuant to the Answer of 2nd June 2008, Official Report, columns 849-50W, on prisons: electronic surveillance, what regime of authorisation and oversight of personal covert surveillance operations in prisons was in force in 1999; and if he will make a statement. (209485)
I see that this question has just been answered:
Mr. Straw: Prior to the introduction of the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act, 2000, there was no legislation regarding covert surveillance in prisons nor was there independent scrutiny of any such operations. Covert surveillance operations in 1999 required authority of the Home Secretary.
Now let us see if we can discover whether my meeting with Andrew Mackinlay in 1999 was the subject of covert electronic surveillance.