Politicians’ Email Addresses Must Be Published

In the UK, Conservative MP (Member of Parliament) Dominic Raab has complained that he’s getting too much email from from a campaigning website called 38 Degrees and has asked them to remove his email address from the their mailing system.  The 38 Degrees site didn’t actually publish his email address, but rather passed on campaign email to it.

As a lawyer, he’s attempting to use privacy laws to quash the email address but the additional element to this farce is that the email address is his parliamentary email address.  It comes with the job – it’s not even his own personal email address.

Mr Raab’s complaint is that he’s getting too many “cloned messages” and he has “finite time and resources”.  You can read his side of the story on his blog and the correspondence between 38 Degrees and the MP on their blog.

He’s also gone so far to get his email address removed from his biography on the House of Commons website.  A spot check on three other MPs biographies show their email addresses clearly displayed.  Mr Raab also lists civil liberties and human rights as his political interests – presumably only if it’s not too inconvenient.

I think the behaviour of this MP is disgraceful.  Every politician should be forced to publish a public email address and give consideration to communication received via email as other methods.  There’s a generation growing up now who have probably never written a letter on paper and only used email, Twitter, IM and so on.

Obviously canned, cloned or templated emails won’t show the same care for an issue as a personalised one, but the judgement has to be made on the content of the communication not how it was recieved.  He’s effectively equating all constituency email as spam.

Mr Raab and all politicians need to realise that communication with their constituents comes with the job and it’s the constituent’s choice of how and when, not theirs.