Gender Recognition Act: Lobby your MP

 

Who is your MP and what do they care about?

  1. Visit https://www.parliament.uk/mps-lords-and-offices/mps/ and enter your postcode.

This site will give you basic information about your MP, their responsibilities and activities. It will tell you which committees they sit on and also how you can contact them.

  1. Visit www.theyworkforyou.com and enter your postcode.

You can find out all the information you need about your MP’s voting records and which issues they care about or are responsible for.

This research will help you tailor your approach when you meet them and increase the impact of your visit.

Making contact

You have the right to email your MP and ask for a meeting to discuss your concerns. Meetings with constituents usually take place in the constituency at the MP’s surgery.

If possible, make contact with others in your constituency and involve them in the meeting.

Your email to your MP should be succinct and clear and briefly outline your key concerns. You could include 1-2 links that relate to what you want to raise and make good arguments. This will enable your MP to do some research in advance of meeting you.

You can meet your MP  individually but it is good to go in a small group of 2-3 if you can. This shows you are not alone in your concerns and will enable you to cover more issues. It also means you can pick up things if someone else forgets. Decide who will focus on which topic.

If you have not heard back from your MP after two weeks, telephone the Constituency office to chase. When an appointment is offered, email back and confirm acceptance of the appointment, the location and give the names of everyone who is coming. Ask how long you will have so that you can plan how you will use the time.

Before you meet your MP

Work out which specific issues you want to raise. Pick things you feel strongly about and/or have direct experience of. Link them to your daily life and work.

Frame your concerns as questions.

Do not assume your MP is antagonistic on the issue. They may not even have seen previous letters (usually dealt with by staff) or even thought much about the issue. Assume s/he holds neutral ground on this and make your points in a calm, reasonable way.

If you can, relate your concerns to the interests and responsibilities the MP has.

Draft a short list of bullet points for you to refer to in the meeting. It is easy to forget what you wanted to say.

If you are going with others, identify who will coordinate the group, who is going to lead on what.

Practice what you can say in the time you will have.

Prepare yourself for challenges which you might reasonably expect from the MP as to why s/he is unable to take the action you request. Make sure that you give the MP good reasons for taking up your concerns.

Meeting your MP

Introduce yourself and your group. Each person should say something very briefly about themselves.

In turn, go through the questions you want to raise. The Coordinator can keep people to time and make sure you all get time to say everything you want to.

What do you want your MP to do?

You should try and ascertain what your MP thinks about the concerns you have raised.

Ask them how they will ensure your concerns are addressed.  Could they:

  • Commit to take your concerns into consideration in any votes or committees?
  • Write to the Minister with responsibility for the issue you have raised with a specific question?
  • Raise it within their parliamentary party?
  • Ask a parliamentary question in the House?
  • Organise a meeting in the constituency between different groups to discuss the issue?
  • Table an Early Day Motion?

Next steps

If you can, go for an immediate de-brief with the others. It is good to reflect on the meeting and think about what the MP said.

As soon as you can, send an email thanking the MP for their time. Reiterate the questions you raised; remind your MP of any actions you requested and any commitments s/he made. Make it clear that you will expect to hear back any such commitments. Send them any other links you promised or referred to in the meeting.

Consider setting up a women’s group in your constituency.

Think about how you can raise your concerns with others.

  • Personal conversations
  • Submit an article to the local press
  • Organise a meeting – it can be as small or as big as you want
  • Contact your council. Ask them what they are planning for International Women’s Day 2019

It would be good to know what MPs are thinking so let us know how you get on.

You can email us on AWomansPlaceUK@gmail.com.