Private talks between MPs have been broadcast over the internet following an embarrassing blunder by House of Commons officials, it was disclosed last night. The mistake – involving backbenchers who often handle secret intelligence material – will raise questions over the security at Westminster.
It happened when the Commons home affairs select committee went into a private discussion to debate reforms to policing. But the audio feed to the Parliament website, which had been covering the previous session, was not turned off. As a result, details of the committee's deliberations over moves to replace police authorities with directly elected commissioners were broadcast. The committee thrashed out the key recommendations of their report, which will be published next week, for almost two hours unaware they could be heard by anyone with an internet connection. Keith Vaz, the committee's chairman, confirmed last night that the private session had "the sound feed inadvertently left on".