On Friday, we finally launched LobbyALord.org, something I’ve been working on frantically since the Marriage (Same-sex Couples) Bill passed third reading in the House of Commons. It’s very simple really – it allows you to lobby Peers to support equal marriage, keeps a count of how many times each peer has been lobbied, their previous voting record and whether or not they’ve come out on either side of the debate. There’s also a handy sortable table to aid with your lobbying.
However, not every Lord has an email address. That’s right. You, the taxpayer, give them a generous amount of money simply for turning up to the House and signing in, yet they’re not obliged to keep an email address for which you can lobby them from. Luckily, BBC Democracy has a good list of Peers that *do* have a direct email (and good for them).
So how do you contact a Peer by email if they don’t have a direct address? Well, you have to use the House of Lords’ central email: firstname.lastname@example.org
But as Lords don’t have a constituency and you may want to lobby a number of them on a certain vote, what happens if you try emailing that address a lot? Well, you get the following email:
Thank you for your email.
This email address is strictly for contacting individual Members of the House of Lords. The address cannot be used for bulk mail shots or to forward one message to multiple Members. Any identical messages sent to more than six Members of the House of Lords will be deleted.
For Information about Lords membership, work, role and function please email email@example.com<mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org> or phone 0207 219 3107.
Freedom of Information requests to the House of Lords should be sent to email@example.com<mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org>
Any sales promotions, advertisements or duplicate lobbying emails will be deleted.
That’s right. How dare you lobby the Lords who decide legislation on your behalf.
This essentially meant that people were getting this email a lot, because the Lords were generated entirely randomly. We’ve rectified this today by pointing out where we have a direct email for that Lord, both on the Lord generator on the front page and on the Peers table. This means you can now sort Lords by whether or not they have a direct email address and avoid worrying about the ridiculous deletion problem.
In the longer term, I’ve started a government e-petition for every active voting Lord to have a Parliamentary email address. You can sign it here: http://epetitions.direct.gov.uk/petitions/51076