Tory MP fights ‘nuisance’ constituent emails

By Alex Stevenson

A Conservative MP has removed his email address from the internet after complaining of being bombarded with ‘nuisance’ emails from his constituents.

Dominic Raab, who entered parliament this year as the member for Esher and Walton, was objecting to electoral reform campaign group 38 Degrees publishing his email on their website.

In an email exchange published on the 38 Degrees website, the group’s digital campaigns manager Johnny Chatterton said only those who had identified themselves as Mr Raab’s constituents through a postcode search would be given the MP’s parliamentary email address.

“The point is that there are hundreds of campaign groups like yours, and flooding MPs inboxes with pro-forma emails creates an undue administrative burden,” Mr Raab wrote on July 19th.

“These emails from your and other lobby groups are becoming a real nuisance. I am easily contactable by constituents, who can write to me at the House of Commons, and readily accessible via surgeries and other public meetings.”

During the email exchange Mr Raab repeatedly threatened to issue a formal complaint to the information commissioner on the use of his email.

Mr Chatterton argued that, because Mr Raab’s email was in the public domain, he was entitled to publish it on his website.

“As an MP you are paid, with taxpayers’ money, to represent your constituents, and we believe that as your parliamentary email address is in the public domain it’s legitimate to use it to facilitate your constituents getting in touch with you,” Mr Chatterton argued.

The argument is not yet over, however. After having had his email address removed from the public House of Commons internet, Mr Raab said he had been told by the information commissioner that “I am entitled to request that you stop using it on your campaign website”.

Many MPs publish their parliamentary email address. Mr Raab’s contact details on his website only give the parliamentary switchboard number and the address for the Palace of Westminster.