Page last updated at 07:03 GMT, Wednesday, 21 October 2009 08:03 UK

Tories stop music to woo voters

Reaction to the Tories bringing their message to web

Conservative chairman Eric Pickles will apologise to music lovers later - as he interrupts their favourite tunes to ask for their vote.

The party is using the online music streaming service Spotify to target young voters.

The website acts like a free jukebox, allowing people to choose what to listen to, punctuated by adverts.

Mr Pickles' distinctive Yorkshire tones will interrupt music to attack the government over the economy.

All political parties will be looking to use the internet more in the run-up to the next general election, which must be held by next June.

'Sorry for interrupting'

Mr Pickles' 45-second message appears to recognise that not all Spotify users will be delighted to have their listening habits interrupted by a politician.

"With Spotify, you only listen to the stuff you want to hear, right? Well sorry to spoil your day but here's something you don't want to hear," he says.

He goes on to accuse Gordon Brown of "reckless spending" and talk about national debt - before suggesting Spotify users vote Tory instead.

There is a certain amount of transparency and parties would still have to report that spending, that would be in the public domain
Electoral Commission spokesman

He signs off: "Sorry for interrupting your listening to tell you all this, but we think it's something you need to hear, and now we'll let you get back to your music."

It is believed to be the first time a UK political party has used the website - which has a paid-for service so people can avoid advertising - to target young voters.

Parties are banned from advertising on TV or radio in the UK outside of election broadcasts in the run-up to a general election.

An Electoral Commission spokesman told the BBC that while those rules did not extend to the internet, any spending on advertising in the 365 days before a general election would have to be declared.

"There is a certain amount of transparency and parties would still have to report that spending, that would be in the public domain," he said.

Mr Pickles is among many prominent politicians - including Culture Secretary Ben Bradshaw and Lib Dem leader Nick Clegg - to use the social networking website Twitter to get his views across.

Political parties are increasingly using sites like YouTube, Facebook and Twitter and political advertising on the internet is expected to mushroom as the election comes closer.

At a fringe event at the Labour Party conference in Brighton last month, Sue Macmillan - Labour's new media campaigns chief, said this would be the first time when, on the day the election was called, thousands of people would be on the internet looking up their local MP.

Labour MP Kerry McCarthy has been made the party's "Twitter tsar" while the Lib Dems have their own "blog of the year" awards.

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