London, Feb.4 : British Justice Secretary Jack Straw has ordered a formal inquiry into claims by a senior Labour Muslim MP that he had been bugged during private meetings with a constituent.
According to The Telegraph, Scotland Yard is alleged to have eavesdropped on meetings between Sadiq Khan, a Government whip, and a terrorist suspect Babar Ahmad, who is currently being held in prison.
British police and security services have been barred from bugging MPs for more than 40 years.
Shadow Home Secretary David Davis is reported to have written to the Prime Minister Gordon Brown in December warning him about the bugging operation, but the missive seems to have gone unnoticed or ignored.
Brown on Sunday claimed he was unaware of the letter and Downing Street said it had not been received, but Davis has published the letter in full.
Ahmad is facing deportation to the United States amid accusations he ran a website raising funds for the Taliban and Chechen terrorists. His conversations with Khan were covertly recorded during prison visits made by the MP.
The table used for the meeting is reported to have contained hidden microphones and questions are now being raised as to whether the bugging operation was authorised by the Home Secretary Jacqui Smith or Sir Ian Blair, the commissioner of the Metropolitan Police.
Khan is a childhood friend of Ahmad and has campaigned against his extradition.
The disclosure is highly embarrassing for the Government as Mr Khan is a prominent Muslim figure charged with reaching out to the community. The MP is also the former chairman of human-rights group Liberty and a legal adviser to the Muslim Council of Britain.
Since 1966, the "Wilson Doctrine" has stipulated that the telephones of Members of Parliament would not be tapped and this policy has been recently been confirmed by the Government.
Scotland Yard have declined to comment on the allegations.