CONSERVATIVE
New Forest East

'CROSS-PARTY UNITY ON SILENT CALLS MENACE'

By Clare Kennedy

Southern Daily Echo – 27 October 2004

New Forest East MP Julian Lewis has spoken out against silent calls as cross-party differences are put aside to battle the scourge. The Tory MP likened it to knocking on someone's door and running away.

The MP has received silent calls due to direct marketing firms using predictive dialling software which means that a selection of random numbers are dialled. However more calls are made than can be handled by call centre staff resulting in thousands of silent and abandoned calls. He said:

"It used to be said that an Englishman's home was his castle but that's not the case anymore when there are so many high-pressure salesmen targeting householders."

Mr Lewis has joined forces with Winchester's Liberal Democrat MP Mark Oaten and Dorset South's Labour MP Jim Knight to end the menace of the silent calls. Together they are supporting the Daily Echo and Radio Solent's Silent Calls Campaign calling for a change in the law making it illegal for direct telephone marketing companies to dial more numbers than they can handle. Mr Lewis added:

"We are all singing from the same hymn sheet on this."

Daily Echo readers from across Southampton, Eastleigh, the New Forest and Fareham have added their names to our campaign by completing our End the Sound of Silence coupon.