Labour employs commercial call centre

The Labour Party is using a commercial call centre to target floating voters during the election campaign.

The Labour Party is using a commercial call centre to target floating voters during the election campaign.

For this first time, Labour has hired a call centre operation in Newcastle understood to be capable of making a million calls in a month.

Labour supporters in the business community were briefed on the details, and on election strategy in general, at a meeting at its Millbank HQ.

They were told of poll results by Blair adviser Philip Gould and given an overview of strategy by Paisley South MP and election co-ordinator Douglas Alexander. The campaign is being overseen by director of communications Lance Price and general-secretary Margaret McDonagh.

A Millbank source said the party's call centre operation has begun, despite recent speculation - dismissed by senior Millbank officials - that the election may be put on hold because of the foot-and-mouth outbreak.

'It is capable of making hundreds of thousands of calls in a matter of days, in the 100 or so key seats we are targeting,' the source said. 'Contrast that with the ramshackle operation the Tories have.'

A Conservative spokesman said the party would run its 60-line in-house call centre from Smith Square. 'It is the most sophisticated targeted call centre ever run by a British political party. Labour should be worried,' the spokesman said.

A Millbank insider admitted the cost of hiring a professional call centre was 'huge' but insisted: 'You have to decide how many bangs you get for your buck and we took the view a commercial call centre operation was good value for money.'



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