- Q.1 Where can I read about the Climate and Ecological Emergency Bill?
For more details about the Bill, visit ‘The bill’ section of our website which links to the CEE Bill itself and gives an explanation of what’s in it.
- Q.2 Why is it called the ‘Climate and Ecology Bill’ on Parliament’s website and why doesn’t the text of the Bill appear online?
On the parliamentary website, the CEE bill is listed as the Climate and Ecology Bill. It’s normal for a private member’s bill, like this, to have one public name, and another name for that keeps within parliamentary rules. For example, the Green New Deal Bill is listed as the Decarbonisation and Economic Strategy Bill. It’s important we refer to the Bill as the Climate and Ecological Emergency Bill (CEE Bill).
- Q.3 What is a presentation bill?
A presentation bill is a type of private member’s bill (PMB). It is a proposal for new legislation that does not come from the Government. Often PMBs are used purely to raise awareness of campaigns. However, it is possible to galvanise enough support and use parliamentary processes to convince MPs of the significance of this bill, so that they back it, vote for it and make it law! This is a tried and tested method. The ‘Big Ask’ campaign used this strategy and, from introducing a private member’s bill in 2005, led to the Climate Change Act 2008.
So if your MPs says that - ‘the CEE Bill will drop’, or that ‘it’s just a presentation bill and doesn’t mean anything’ - it’s important to remember that this is one of many avenues to present ideas for new laws. This is a key step in raising awareness and moving forward, and we’re doing well! We’ve managed to table the CEE Bill with the maximum number of co-sponsors (11 MPs), representing 7 parties, and the support keeps coming with now over a 100 MPs!
- Q.4 What does it mean to sponsor, co-sponsor and a supporter?
With PMBs, one MP presents the bill and is the lead sponsor. You can have up to 11 additional MPs co-sponsor the bill. Their names appear on the official parliamentary document. Other MPs can publicly declare their support, which is fantastic as for a bill to be eventually passed into law, we will need the support of a majority of MPs! See the lists above for the live update of which MPs are supporting us.
- Q.5 When was the bill ‘tabled’ and what does this mean?
We have successfully ‘tabled’ or presented the Climate and Ecological Emergency Bill in Parliament! On 2 September, Caroline Lucas (Green) stood up in the Commons to introduce the CEE Bill for the first time! This is like an introduction to Parliament, a chance to raise awareness and make a noise with MPs (as we are doing!).
- Q.6 Why are we using a presentation bill if this type of bill rarely, if ever, becomes law?
Presentation bill’s are rarely made law, although it is possible if the Government were to take it up for themselves and make it law as a Government-led proposal. There are rare cases where presentation bills move forward rapidly; such as the Protection of Birds (Amendment) Bill that apparently passed all its Commons stages in 67 seconds during one Friday sitting in 1976!
However, this is a bold start of a tried and test campaign - as outlined in Q. 3 above. We need to keep gathering support and we can keep putting the bill forward using different mechanisms, in both the Commons and Lords, that are available to us. We will focus on these at different points in the campaign depending on the level of support etc. (such as ten minute rule bills and ballot bills). The point is, if you’re an MP, we need you to back the bill now to help us progress as fast as possible!
- Q.7 What is the second reading date?
When the CEE Bill is presented in the House of Commons, we will be given a second reading date. The likelihood is that this version of the CEE Bill won’t be high enough on the list of PMBs set to be discussed on that day. BUT: this is still a crucial marker in the life of the Bill and we need to recruit as many MPs to support before then so we can ask, ‘Why was this bill not given priority?’
- Q.8 My MP says they are a shadow frontbencher, or in the shadow cabinet, and can’t support - have I been wasting my time?
No, never! None of this lobbying activity is wasted! It is not usual, but not impossible for frontbenchers to be a co-sponsor on a bill - but they can if they really want to and a Labour frontbencher, Alex Sobel MP, has stuck his neck out and added his name as a co-sponsor on the CEE Bill! But now the bill has been tabled, our ask is, ‘Will you back the bill?’ This could mean expressing public support, it could be discussing the content with colleagues, it means seriously engaging with the policies within the bill.
- Q.9 What’s an EDM and should I be asking my MP to sign?
Ask your MP if they would like to sign the CEE Bill EDM (no. 832) once they have already publicly expressed support for the bill. This is our primary aim. An EDM stands for an Early Day Motion. It is expressed as a statement, or motion, written by MPs and formally calls for debate "on an early day". In practice, they are rarely debated in the House and their main purpose is to draw attention to particular subjects of interest. Aren’t these processes crazy? Conservative MPs tend not to like to add their name to EDMs. But again, the most important thing is to ask your MP to support the CEE Bill.
- Q.10 I’ve received an email from my MP saying they won’t support the bill or saying the support some of the content but can’t state that they support the bill as a whole. How do I respond?
Some Conservatives and Labour have been sending round set responses. Conservatives say that they are doing enough already and Labour, that this is only a presentation bill, so it is not worth their support (see Q.6 above). See here to find out if you did receive a set email rather than a personal one and for advice on how to respond.
But the short answer is, because the letter hasn’t personally been drafted by your MP, the biggest pressure won’t actually come from building up carefully rationalised arguments, but by NUMBERS! So if you have received one of these letters, the best thing to do is to ask as many people from your constituency as possible to write, call or tweet, asking your MP to support the CEE bill.
- Q.11 I’ve urged my MP twice to support the bill and they still won’t budge. What do I do?
Do you use rational or emotional argument? Well, for the stage in the campaign, the most persuasive approach is actually the number of personalised requests from constituents asking them to support the bill. Simple - but effective!
- Q.12 What’s next now that the bill has been tabled?
First, we use this introduction to Parliament - we’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again - to get the support of as many MPs as possible! You may have realised by now, that there are lots of quirks about these traditional processes. Isn’t it mad we’re not all taught this in school to be able to act as engaged citizens? The tension between parliamentary process and a campaign that is saying - we don’t have time for the status quo! - is of course a challenge, but one that we hope you’re up for! We need the CEE Bill to be passed into law. We are using the journey of the campaign (with the Presentation Bill as the first step) to make this happen, like with the ‘Big Ask’ campaign that led to the Climate Change Act. But of course it’s not all about MPs -- after this first stage we will keep all who want to keep campaigning posted on how we can get environmental organisations, NGOs, community groups, local authorities, businesses and public figures all joining the Climate and Emergency Bill Alliance. It’s about creating a culture shift that, yes!, can lead to new legislation!
It’s important to remember: don’t let your MP get tied up in knots about parliamentary procedure and process - how much you or they know. You are a constituent and you are asking them to take a serious look at the content of this bill, which has been developed with top scientists. Ask them whether they agree with the content, why or why not and can they support this content.
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