The Conservative Party has joined the Direct Marketing Association
in calling for substantial changes to the Representation of the People
Bill, outlined in the Queen’s Speech last week. If passed, the bill
would allow consumers to opt out of having electoral roll details used
for commercial purposes.
The bill states that there should be two electoral registers: a full
version which would be used only for electoral and law enforcement
purposes, and an expurgated version - comprising people who did not tick
the opt-out box - which would be available for commercial purposes. It
is due for its second reading next Wednesday.
A document by the Conservative Research Department outlines the
potential harm caused by including an opt-out box on voting forms. The
document reads: ’(Voters being allowed to opt out) is likely to cause
severe difficulties for both business and electors ... The amount of
’junk mail’ might actually increase as it would be impossible to target
mail effectively and companies would have to resort to blanket mailings.
There would also be more instances of unwanted junk mail addressed to
residents who had previously moved.’
Colin Lloyd, the chief executive of the Direct Marketing Association,
said: ’We welcome the support of the Conservative Party as a victory for