Tory assault on voters through call centres

Conservatives tread thin line as they start call-centre campaign to canvass ‘opt-out’ voters

The Conservative Party is using call centres to launch an assault on voters as it starts canvassing to people who have chosen to block and opt-out of unsolicited cold-calling.

A spokeswoman for the Conservatives confirms that its call centres are being used to “reach out” to people who have registered their numbers with the Telephone Preference Service to block unwanted calls from banks selling their services or from local businesses such as double-glazing companies.

The move will be seen as part of the changes being brought in by the Australian political strategist Lynton Crosby, hired as the party’s General Election campaign director by Conservative leader Michael Howard.

The spokeswoman adds: “Of course there is a grey area between what constitutes campaigning and what is pure information. But we are not trying to do push polling, though we do give information about what the party can offer.”

The call centres also ask voters questions such as “How do you intend to vote?” as part of its research.

Experts add that the Labour Party uses similar techniques to woo voters. Labour would not comment as Marketing Week went to press.

However, a spokeswoman for the Liberal Democrats says that her party uses call centres primarily for fundraising, rather than canvassing.

Latest from Marketing Week

Marketoonist on PowerPoint pitches

The Marketoonist

Tom Fishburne is founder of Marketoon Studios. Follow his work at or on Twitter @tomfishburne See more of the Marketoonist here Tom Fishburne will be speaking at the Festival of Marketing, which is taking place on 4 and 5 October at Tobacco Dock. To find out more information, including how to book tickets, visit […]


Access Marketing Week’s wealth of insight, analysis and inspiration that will help you develop as a marketer and leader.

Register and receive the best content from the only title 100% dedicated to serving marketers' needs.

We’ll ask you just a few questions about what you do and where you work, so we can make Marketing Week more relevant to you.

Register now


Our award winning editorial team and columnists will ask the biggest questions about the biggest issues on everything from strategy through to execution to help you navigate the fast moving modern marketing landscape.


From the opportunities and challenges of emerging technology to the need for greater effectiveness, from the challenge of measurement to building a marketing team fit for the future, we will be your guide.


Information, inspiration and advice from the marketing world and beyond that will help you develop as a marketer and as a leader.

Dedicated to developing your skills and helping you achieve marketing excellence. Find guidance on leadership, professional development and the latest industry jobs.

Having problems?

Contact us on +44 (0)20 7292 3711 or email

If you are looking for our Jobs site, please click here