HC Deb 25 November 1937 vol 329 cc1391-2
31 and 32. Lieut.-Commander Fletcher

asked the Home Secretary (1) under what conditions permission is given to postal, police, or other authorities to intercept and open private correspondence; and how often such permission has been granted during the past six months;

(2) whether it is necessary to have a warrant issued by him before orders are given to police or other authorities to listen in to private telephone conversations; under what conditions a warrant or permission to listen in is granted; and how often such a warrant or permission has been granted during the past six months?

Sir S. Hoare

It is of the essence of this power that particulars should not be disclosed as to the occasions or manner of its use, but I can assure the House that, like my predecessors, I am fully conscious that the power should only be used in special circumstances when the public interest so requires.

Lieut.-Commander Fletcher

Will the right hon. Gentleman answer the question, whether a warrant from his Department is necessary before the police can be given permission to listen in to private telephone conversations?

Sir S. Hoare

Yes, Sir, I can give the answer that a warrant would be necessary.