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Last Updated: Friday, 7 April 2006, 16:51 GMT 17:51 UK
UK politicians shun EU net names
By Mark Ward
Technology correspondent, BBC News website

New .eu domain unveiled, AFP/Getty
EU Commissioner Viviane Reding unveiled the .eu domain
The .eu net domain has been almost ignored by Britain's three main political parties.

Neither Labour, the Conservatives or Liberal Democrats have yet grabbed a .eu domain to match their party name.

The Conservative Party applied for two .eu domains but failed to get them because it missed a paperwork deadline.

Now that anyone in Europe can apply for a .eu domain, potentially sensitive names are being snapped up by speculators and search sites.

Party talk

A check by the BBC News website early on Friday before the chance to grab a .eu domain was given to all EU citizens, showed that domain names for Britain's big three parties were available.

Prior to the land rush phase for .eu domains, labourparty.eu, conservativeparty.eu and liberaldemocrats.eu were unclaimed, as were some variants of all three.

Domain names for the names of the three leaders of the parties were also free.

A spokesman for the Conservative Party said it was in the process of applying for the conservatives.eu domain.

labourparty.eu - owned by Ovidio
thelabourparty.eu - no owner
labour.eu - no owner
tonyblair.eu - owned by Big House Services
conservatives.eu - application pending
conservativeparty - no owner
tories.eu - owned by Tao Technology
davidcameron.eu - no owner
liberaldemocrats.eu - no owner
libdems.eu - no owner
menziescampbell.eu - no owner

"We are the only Conservative Party in the EU," he said. "It's a natural and appropriate thing for us to have."

He added that the party already controlled conservatives.com and conservatives.tv.

By contrast the Liberal Democrats said it had no plans to claim liberaldemocrats.eu for itself because it was focussed on politics in the UK.

Mark Pack from the campaigns office at the Liberal Democrat headquarters said few people would see this lack of interest as being representative of a party's stance on Europe.

"I think people will judge party policy on Europe on a wide range of issues," said Mr Pack. "Two or three letters at the end of a domain name will not play a huge role in people judging that."

The Labour Party failed to respond to a request to find out its plans for the .eu domain.

The Conservative Party may have a fight on its hands to control the name as during 7 April domains for the party name started to be claimed by other people.

On Friday successful applications were made for three .eu domains that many people would associate with the political parties. Search sites have bought some, perhaps to help drive traffic to their own webpages.

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