Questions for Labour as party email address found on online consultation form


By G.A.Ponsonby 
The Labour party is today facing questions after it emerged that submissions to the Scottish Government Referendum Consultation may have been directed to a Labour party email address at the same time.
It has emerged that code behind the online form on the party’s Scottish website contains not one but two email addresses, one the genuine referendum consultation address hosted by the Scottish Government and another which is a UK Labour party address.

The code behind the form contains a field which describes the two addresses as “RecipientsAddresses”.  Newsnet Scotland also discovered that a setting in the form rendered the email addresses invisible, we altered the setting to reveal them as shown below.


On discovering the extra email address, Newsnet Scotland immediately contacted the office of Scottish Labour Leader Johann Lamont to ask for an explanation.  We also copied the enquiry to the contact email address for Scottish Labour.

In our enquiry we asked:

  • Can you confirm that you are also sending these emails to a Labour party email address?
  • If so, can you confirm what is happening to the information contained in the forms when you receive these submissions?

Our enquiry received an acknowledgement from Ms Lamont’s office.  However despite sending the email on Friday morning, we have had no further communication from the party.

The revelations follow the recent controversy over the UK consultation after it emerged that 25% of the total number of submissions came via a form on a Labour party site.

Last weekend Labour’s Deputy Leader Anas Sarwar was asked on the Politics Show if Labour had been monitoring submissions to the consultation submissions made through forms on its website, to which he replied “absolutely”.

Mr Sarwar refused to elaborate what was meant by ‘monitor’ but confirmed that no submissions were allowed unless each user entered their name and email address, this he claimed ensured no anonymous submissions were possible.

The online form on the Labour site provides users with fields in which they enter their name and private email address before submitting their response to the consultation process.  On sending their submission each user is prompted to send further emails to friends and associates urging them to do the same.

There will now be concerns that the Labour party may have stored this personal data along with the views of each individual user – one of whom is a Newsnet Scotland volunteer.

There has been significant controversy surrounding both the UK Government’s referendum consultation and that of the Scottish Government.

The controversy centred around claims by Scottish Labour that the Scottish Government process had been designed for abuse and that the SNP were allowing so called ‘Cybernats’ to flood the process with duplicate and anonymous pro-independence messages.

However it subsequently emerged that there was no evidence of any such mass flooding of the Scottish Government’s consultation by SNP supporters and in fact anonymous submissions were proportionally no worse than the UK consultation.

Figures released by the Scottish Government also indicated there was no evidence of a problem with multiple submissions.  This was despite the Scottish consultation receiving over four times the response than the UK consultation where there were found to have been 118 duplicate entries.