EU Funded Research Scheme Sent MPs Fake Letters Mid-Pandemic

MPs are fuming after finding out that researchers from an EU funded body have been sending fake emails to them during the pandemic, pretending to be genuine constituents. The exercise, which bombarded MPs of all parties is being condemned as time-wasting, with multiple staffers telling Guido that “people are pissed off“, and “absolutely furious about this”. One staffer vented to Guido:

“We’ve all got better things to do than be engaging with fake constituents and fake casework, and this EU-funded body shouldn’t be wasting taxpayers’ time and money by funnelling this stuff through to MPs’ offices.”

As part of a study for the European Consortium for Political Research (a body which has received funding from the EU) called “The Responsiveness of MPs to Citizen-Initiated Policy-Related Inquiries”, researchers conducted experiments where:

“e-mails written by fictitious constituents are sent to inquire about the policy position of MPs. We vary sender characteristics to test the effect of cue-giving on response rates and response characteristics.”

The GMB MPs’ Staff union has condemned the practice as “an appalling misuse of MP office time when we’re already over-stretched with (genuine!) urgent casework issues.”

Guido is told the letters were sent in large numbers with the subject “Question about Covid-19” and were structured in order to find out if MPs use social cues – race, social status, party support. One sent to an MP in November claimed to be “working as a cleaner” who has recently moved to the constituency and is “worried about the Covid-19 crisis.” Another sent in December claimed to be “working as a lawyer” who has recently moved to the constituency “worried about the Covid-19 crisis.” The near identical wording was not the brightest move from the European Consortium…

UPDATE: Guido has seen a letter King’s College London has sent to a group of MPs today to confirm it sent over one thousand emails to MPs as part of a European funded project researching politician behaviour. Remarkably, this mid-pandemic email blitz was approved by KCL ethics committee…

mdi-timer February 23 2021 @ 13:30 mdi-share-variant mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-printer
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