Silent calls

JUDGING by the positive reaction I’ve had from people I must have touched a nerve with my Corporate Nuisance Call Bill this week.

I introduced the Bill under what’s called a “ten minute rule motion”.
It is a procedure in the House of Commons which allows backbenchers 10 minutes to speak on their own bill, if they are unlucky enough not to win the Private Members’ Bill raffle.

Unfortunately we are very close to the end of our session, and there won’t be enough time for my bill to become law.
That doesn’t mean it’s a waste of ten minutes.

After I highlighted the issue of silent calls in Parliament previously an industry code of conduct was brought in to reduce them.
The problem is that it is not tough enough.

Companies can set their dialling equipment so that up to 5% of their sales calls result in a silent phone call to the unfortunate victim.

Five per cent sounds low, but it still produces in millions of nuisance calls.

I am hoping that my bill will put pressure on the industry to tighten up their standards.
Unless they do, they will find that a bill like mine will eventually become law.

But this is not the only issue with new technologies irritating and alarming people.

One of my constituents has complained to me about receiving a massive telephone bill, after his son filled out an IQ questionnaire on the internet.

Hidden away in tiny print was a message that clicking a button would connect you to a £1 per minute phone line.

Who knows maybe in the new session I’ll be lucky in the ballot for a private member’s bill. In the meantime the BT’s, NTL’s and Ofcom’s of this world need to clamp down on these scams.