MP Tom Brake has been admonished by data watchdogs for misusing personal information for political purposes.
The Carshalton and Wallington MP took names and addresses from a petition he was asked to deliver to Downing Street and used them to gain support for his own political campaign.
But the politician, who is also the Liberal Democrats authority on data protection, breached strict guidelines set out by the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) designed to protect individual privacy.
Yesterday Mr Brake admitted he had “got it wrong” and said he will be meeting with the ICO to clarify the rules.
Sutton Conservative Councillor Moira Butt said: “It is now clear that Tom Brake did break the rules by using this petition for political ends.
“I just hope that the purpose of the petition is not damaged by his data hijack because it is an important issue for many local people.”
The petition was originally compiled by Carshalton Fields surgery senior partner Dr Rohit Goel protesting against Government plans for polyclincs and had nothing to do with the MP.
Dr Goel later said he was “furious" and had sought advice from the British Medical Association after discovering the information was taken by Mr Brake.
One patient, Godfrey Bosley, 61, said he was stunned to find himself on Mr Brake’s mailing list asking him to support his own campaign after he signed the petition.
Financial consultant Mr Bosley complained to the ICO which said it would be writing to Mr Brake to “remind him of his obligations under the Data Protection Act’’.
An ICO spokeswoman said: “Where constituents contact their MP to give their views on a local issue... then the MP should not use those constituents’ contact details for a ‘partisan’ promotional communication, unless the constituents have made it clear that they support the MP’s party.
“Clearly some individuals will feel strongly about a local issue without supporting the party that has similar views on that matter. Such individuals may well be irritated to receive a letter such as this one which is critical of the Labour Party and promotes the Liberal Democrats."
Mr Bosley said: “I am happy that my concerns have been justified, because I feel very strongly that personal information must be protected.
“I would hope that Mr Brake does not continue the practice in the future, but I’m not optimistic.”
Mr Brake said: “I have to put my hands up and say I got it wrong.
“I am pleased however that the ICO made it clear that an MP is entitled to contact petitioners, so there was nothing wrong with me writing to people, but it had to be in a way that ‘did not promote the work of one political party’ and wasn’t too critical of the Government.
“I will be seeking an urgent meeting with the Information Commissioner to clarify whether this is new guidance or a new interpretation of existing guidance.’’