/ Technology

MPs, pick our Bill to tackle nuisance calls and texts

Jenny Driscoll and Mark McLaren from Which? at Parliament

We’re in parliament today lobbying MPs to pick a new Private Members’ Bill. Our candidate? A Bill to reduce nuisance calls and texts. Which MP will say ‘You’re hired!’?

The Calling Time on Nuisance Calls and Texts team at Which? were at the House of Commons this morning as the ballot for the Private Members’ Bill took place.

The Private Members’ Bill, for those who may not be aware, is an opportunity for an MP to present a Bill of their choice to Parliament that could change the law.

This morning, deputy speaker Lindsay Hoyle MP, drew 20 names out of a ballot box. Usually, up to 400 MPs enter the ballot and over the last couple of years, against odds of an estimated 58,000 to 1, MP John McDonnell came top of the annual ballot two years in a row. So, was it three years lucky for Mr McDonnell? No, this year it was James Wharton who won top place. Other winners in the ballot included Paul Blomfield, Mike Crockart and Justin Tomlinson.

Now these 20 MPs will consider what Bill they’ll each put forward for an opportunity to be debated later this year. There’s already been media speculation that one of the MPs will be persuaded to put forward a Bill to require a referendum on Britain’s membership of the EU. Some MPs may have a personal issue they want to champion, while others will be looking around for an issue to take up. And that’s where Which? comes in.

Dear MPs, Which? has just the candidate for you!

Our Bill would help sort out a problem that affects 70% of every MPs’ constituents. Our Bill is an opportunity to improve complex rules and regulation to protect consumers. It would target an issue that’s generated over 30,000 votes in a poll here on Which? Conversation, with 100% saying they’re fed up. Our candidate? A Bill to reduce nuisance calls and texts.

As it happens Which? is not an apprentice when it comes to Private Member’s Bills. We actually have had a good track record. Previous candidates have achieved results, including simpler and clearer unit pricing in supermarkets and a change in rules so that parents can finally move children’s savings from poor performing Child Trust Funds into Isas.

So today, the Calling Time team at Which? have contacted every MP who won a place in the ballot with our big idea. We hope to persuade one of them to choose our Bill. We know many people will back an MP who’s willing to tackle nuisance calls and texts.

Though the ‘interview process’ takes almost a month – the chosen MPs have until Wednesday 19 June to decide what Bill they want to pursue – we’ll be waiting for an MP to point the finger at us and say ‘You’re hired!’


Most of the nuisance calls I’ve had recently have been about twice weekly from overseas, gathering (or attempting to gather) marketing material. I cannot see any UK legislation having any effect on these.

Jeanette Fox says:
26 July 2013

Most of my nuisance calls are ‘International’ and apparently unless I buy a new set of phones to filter out these calls , according to BT there is nothing I can do.
The amount of calls I receive is getting ridiculous, 5 times in one day!! It’s either, Microsoft, Surveys, loft/wall insulation, Insurance for an accident I apparently have had and of course PPI. I have had some fun with the Microsoft calls by turning the tables on them by going along with their instructions on my mac! I find it most annoying when they call early am. I now usually have my mobile phone at the ready and record all of the conversations. I also tell them I am with TPS, and they usually hang up when I ask for their telephone number. What’s to be done?!

eileen williams says:
9 November 2014

and as we go on the march(which has started) towards the general election what about those calls which are starting-being very nice on the phone and asking if they can depend on your vote etc, this before the election if they are not on the phone they are on your doorstep.I do realise just how important this all is and I will be voting , but I just do not want all the hassle and intursion of these phone calls.I have already had two, who inform me they will be in touch nearer the date-I have informed them I don’t need them/not want them to call me but what do you bet they do !