Nearly 80 MPs including ministers and members of select committees have signed an early day motion to ban the use of blacklists

The proposal was put by Labour MP Michael Clapham, who demanded the government “enact immediately legislation to prohibit the compilation of a blacklist containing the details of workers and employees”. The motion has received 79 signatures.

A spokesperson for the business and enterprise department (BERR) said a decision on whether to take forward legislation would not be made until evidence had been examined.

However, he said the fact that BERR officials had made the trip to the Information Commissioner’s Office base in Cheshire to view evidence “indicates BERR recognises this is a serious matter”.

Lawyers warn it could be difficult to bring in legislation banning blacklists. “There are many reputable vetting companies,” said Edward Goodwyn, partner at Pinsent Masons. “If new legislation were drafted too widely, it could put all of these firms out of business.”