Practical Workshop on engaging MPs

Practical Workshop on engaging MPs, facilitated by Mike Kaye (Still Human Still Here) and Eiri Ohtani (Detention Forum)

This workshop will help participants to better engage with MPs and make use of parliamentary mechanisms that will help bring about change. In particular it will:

• Give examples of what works and what doesn’t work when working with MPs
• Provide tools, strategies and inspiration to lobby for political change
• Outline how different parliamentary procedures can be used to influence the political process
• Encourage participants to think about what action they can take individually or collectively to build momentum for change.
engaging mps pic

The presentation from ‘Engaging MP’s’ workshop is Here
lobbying mps

Tips for effectively engaging MPs

Identifying and contacting your MP

You can find your MP (and MEPs & Councillors) by typing in your postcode at: https://www.writetothem.com/ or at: http://findyourmp.parliament.uk/

You can write to your MP to request a meeting or go to their constituency surgery. Research your MPs interests and what positions they hold in Parliament. The basic information is at: http://www.parliament.uk/mps-lords-and-offices/mps/

Preparing for meetings

Reliable evidence and good analysis are essential to support advocacy positions and to counter arguments and assumptions. However, you should also consider the issue from the MP’s perspective: think about their concerns and how to address them. In preparing for a meeting consider how to:

• Link your objective to one of their existing priorities or areas of interest as this will make it relevant to them.
• Place your objective within an existing policy framework and present it as consistent with their established policy positions.
• Communicate the benefit of your proposed policy (budgetary savings, efficiency, prestige, avoiding political
embarrassment, etc.).
• Answer direct questions, such as: How much will this cost? Who else supports this proposal? What do you want me to do?

What can Parliamentarians do?

They can use a number of different parliamentary procedures to raise awareness, concerns and seek change, these include:

  • Sponsoring or supporting amendments to a Bill
  • Raising an issue privately with the Minister
  • Lobbying internally for changes to their own party’s policies
  • Putting down a Parliamentary Question, written or oral (indicates concern, can educate or obtain information)
  • Sponsor or sign an Early Day Motion (EDM) (provides a test of backbench support and list of interested MPs).

    Key checklist for engaging MPs

    Identify your MP and prepare your arguments. You should be able to outline:

    • What the problem is and why it is urgent;
    • What the solution is and what the benefits of the solution are;
    • What you want the decision maker to do.

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