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Last Updated: Monday, 27 September, 2004, 18:02 GMT 19:02 UK
Labour faces 'dirty tricks' claim
Michael Fabricant MP
Mr Fabricant accused the Labour Party of hypocrisy
The Labour Party registered three websites in Michael Howard's name as part of what the Tories claim was a "dirty tricks campaign".

Three sites using the Tory leader's name list "The Labour Party" as registrant, MP Michael Fabricant said.

He questioned if Labour would sell the sites, adding: "Is the plan, therefore, to misrepresent Mr Howard?"

Labour said it was open about owning the sites and had used some to publicise Mr Howard's record in power.

The Tory leader's official website is Michaelhowardmp.com.

Mr Fabricant listed the phoney sites as: Michaelhowardmp.org, Michaelhowardmp.net and Michaelhowardmp.org.uk.

But a Labour Party spokesman pointed to another, michaelhowardscv.com, as an example of the purpose for which the party had bought the domains.

It exposes Labour as cyber-hypocrites
Michael Fabricant MP

"It's a mock up of a CV listing all the things he did when he was in power," he said.

The website runs through Mr Howard's years in office before linking to Labour's official site.

"It makes a serous point that he has had a crack at power in the past... we wanted to do that in an as accessible way as possible," the spokesman added.

But Mr Fabricant, shadow minister for industry and technology, said: "It is quite clear that [the Labour Party] are planning to mount a desperate dirty tricks campaign."

He added that such "cyber-squatting" was in direct contravention of Government policy and that Department of Trade and Industry Minister Michael O'Brien had condemned the practice.

"Mr O'Brien described the practice as 'pre-emptive bad-faith registration', saying that cyber squatters exploited the first-come-first-served nature of the domain name registration system..."

"It exposes Labour as cyber-hypocrites," Mr Fabricant said.

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