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.

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