Conservative Party chiefs are introducing a Big Brother-style requirements to anyone planning to attend any party events during this year’s general election campaign in Milton Keynes.
New rules being introduced by the party mean that every reporter, photographer or cameraman needs to provide Tory HQ with their home address, their passport and driving licence numbers, a photograph, plus other personal information, so that they can qualify for ‘election accreditation’.
These details will be kept by the party forever.
Some reporters will also be charged £20 for the privilege of being given a pass, which may still not guarantee them entry to any events.
Milton Keynes journalists have never been ordered to provide their private details, as a prerequisite for attening local events, by any party in the past.
Andrew Pakes, Labour’s prospective parliamentary candidate for Milton Keynes South, said: “This sounds like an odd policy of stopping local reporters from knowing what’s going, and local people from finding out the news from the media.
“I don’t know why the Prime Minister wants to have and keep local journalists’ passport details or their photographs. But he’s already trying to hide from a leaders’ debate, now he seems to be hiding from even speaking to journalists.”
Conservative Party spokesman Richard Jackson said: “This is the system we use for all party conferences, it’s the same system as that.
“The information will only be used for that, and if reporters want to attend other events in the future.”
A local party spokesman played down any concern, although they admitted the requirement would still be in place if the Prime Minister visited the city - unlike in previous general elections.
They said: “I understand the accreditation process by Central Office is to ensure the safety of secretary of states and the Prime Minister during the short campaign.
“I would like to assure the local press that they will always be very welcome to come along to any MK Conservative event and Member of Parliament visits.”