Will you be in tonight?

Mar 5, 2006
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Liberal Democrat Leader Nick Clegg will telephone a quarter of a million voters on Wednesday evening -- with a little assistance from a computerised calling system.

The 41-year-old opposition party chief has recorded a message which will be automatically relayed across phonelines to households around the country in a bid to raise awareness of his party, currently trailing in third place in opinion polls.

This political version of the double-glazing salesman's cold-call has been used effectively by America's Democrat party, a LibDem spokesman said. Experience from the United States showed that around half of those called stayed on the line long enough to hear at least part of the political message.

"It's a higher take-up rate than most people would expect," the spokesman said.

Those taking the calls will be able to press their phone keyboard to choose which LibDem policy -- on crime, education and so on -- they want to hear more details about. As well as reaching out to a wide range of voters, the party will also be see which areas of policy are of most concern by analysing the phone choices made.

The calls will go out after Clegg closes his party's autumn conference in Bournemouth with a speech declaring that the government is "finished" and that the Conservatives are just a "say everything, do nothing party". On Monday Clegg defeated the left-wing of his party to push through a commitment to fight the next election on a manifesto of lower government spending and tax cuts for those on low and middle incomes.


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