The leader of the UK's Conservative party could be in trouble with the law after urging party member to forward his email to ten "neighbours, friends and other contacts".

The leader of the UK's Conservative party could be in trouble with the law after urging party member to forward his email to ten "neighbours, friends and other contacts".

The email which sets out Michael Howard's "personal credo" has been sent to 100,000 party members each asking the recipient to forward it to ten other people. This could mean 1,000,000 emails arrive in people's in-boxes without the message being requested in the first place. Lawyers have warned that this could be a possible breach of UK anti-spam laws, as regulations prohibit unsolicited mailings.

A spokesman for the Conservative party said that he did not consider the email to be junk and said the party was not guilty.

"If someone wishes to have the email sent on to a friend's address then the resent email goes from the original recipients email address to their friend," said the spokesman. "Whilst sent from a Conservative Party web server it does not come from a Conservative Party email address." 

The spokesman added it was "the sender's responsibility to ensure that they do not send an email onto a friend who would not wish to receive it."

Lawyers express their reservations over such tactics.

"I would have serious concerns that it was a breach of the new regulations," said Liz Bell, a solicitor at IT law firm Morgan Cole.

She said the regulations stated organisations could only send unsolicited marketing emails to private addresses if they notified that they wanted to receive such material. She added that even though the message was political it would still be considered to be "marketing".