UK Politics

MP David Lammy apologises over nuisance calls

David Lammy

Labour MP David Lammy has apologised "unreservedly" after being fined £5,000 for instigating nuisance calls urging people to back his London mayoral bid.

The 35,629 calls played a recorded message urging support for his failed campaign to be Labour's candidate.

Information Commissioner Christopher Graham said the same rules apply to canvassing for votes as apply "to offering a discount on double glazing".

People getting Mr Lammy's calls had not given permission to receive them.

This meant, according to the Information Commissioner's Office investigation, Mr Lammy had broken the rules set out in the Privacy and Electronic Communication Regulations.

Permission required

Mr Graham said: "If you want to call someone in this way, you must follow these rules. Mr Lammy did not, and that is why he has been fined.

"It's not good enough to assume the people you're contacting probably won't mind. The law requires you to have permission before making calls with recorded messages. And if the law isn't followed, the regulator will act."

The calls were made in August 2015 using contact details of party members provided by the Labour Party. Mr Lammy did not make the additional checks necessary to ensure he was able to contact the people with recorded messages, the watchdog said.

Mr Graham said: "Mr Lammy's team should have known there were special controls in place around calls with recorded messages. Not only have we published detailed guidance on political campaigning on our website, but we have contacted political parties directly to remind them of the rules."

Mr Lammy came fourth in the contest last year to become Labour's candidate in the forthcoming London mayoral elections with 9.4% of first preferences.

He said: "I fully accept the Information Commissioner's decision and apologise unreservedly to any Labour Party member or registered supporter that felt upset at receiving an automated call from my campaign.

"If I had known that additional permission was required to make automated calls then I would have sought it before any calls were made."