Getting started - Writing to your MP

For many of us, politics is something that other people do, something we can’t really influence. And even for those who feel they can make  an impact, writing to an MP can seem a bit old school – ineffective even. But this is an essential step in the campaign. Parliamentary bills are passed by members of parliament, after all. And since they are our  representatives in the House of Commons, we have to let them know  what we want them to do. MPs often say that they do not support a specific bill because it is not a priority for their constituents. So our first task is to make it clear that the CEE Bill has the support of people up and down the country

If you haven’t written to your MP before and you’re unsure how to go about it, then read on for some helpful advice. But the most important thing to remember is that it is your MP’s job to listen to you. In a representative democracy, you’re the boss! And this is one important way to make your voice heard. 

Check whether your MP supports already 

MPs from several different political parties already back the CEE Bill. Check here to see whether your MP supports the Bill. If they do, why not send them a quick note to say thank you? It helps to let them know that  another one of their constituents supports the Bill, and makes sure the campaign stays on their radar. Even if your MP is already on board, there is still so much you can do to help the campaign. For instance, you can write to your local council about the Bill. You can join or start a local alliance that stretches across neighbouring constituencies. Or you can pass on your knowledge and experiences to other campaigners at one of our Campaign Shares

Find your MP’s contact details 

You can find your MP’s contact details by entering their name or your postcode on the UK parliament website

Write to your MP 

People often ask if it’s better to write a handwritten letter or an email. The fact is that it doesn’t matter too much either way. It’s far more important to make what you write personal. It doesn’t have to be much  and it doesn’t have to be perfect. Just ask yourself why you personally support the Climate and Ecological Emergency (CEE) Bill, and why you want your MP to do the same. You could also mention some impacts of the climate and ecological emergency in your area, such as flooding; wildfires; air pollution; farming and food production; burning of vegetation in peat bogs etc. As you progress along the campaign, you’ll probably want to go into more depth. But to begin with, just state a couple of reasons why you support the Bill. If you like, you can get some inspiration from the summary of the Bill on this page

In your email, it’s helpful to include a link to the Bill, so that your MP can refer to it.

Don’t forget your postcode 

If you are writing an email, don’t forget to state your postal address, so that your MP knows that you are their constituent. That way, they are much more likely to take on board what you say. 

Contact your MP on social media 

These days, most MPs are on Twitter. If you’re a twitterer too, then you might like to ask them to back the Bill in this – more public – way. Make sure you add your MP’s twitter handle to your tweet. You can find a list of MP handles here. Also include the CEE Bill Alliance handle @CEEbill_ NOW and the hashtag #CEEbill. This will help build up the pressure. If you like, you can use our template tweet and adapt it for your purposes.

You could even video yourself asking your MP if they will support the Bill, and add this to your tweet. See our tips on making your “Will you back the #CEEbill?” video

Next steps 

Let us know if your MP supports the Bill

To register support, your MP just needs to say so in writing to you. The language they use is important here. It must be something like “I support/back this bill”. Unfortunately, if they say “I support the aims of this bill” or “I support the principles behind this bill” – that doesn’t count.

If they express support, well done! It’s really helpful if you can drop us a quick email to let us know at [email protected] (Your MP won’t necessarily get in touch with us off their own bat.) We’ll then add your MP’s name to the list on our website. And we’ll get in touch with your MP to thank them and talk about ways they can support the campaign in Parliament. 

Another really helpful thing you can do at this point is to ask your MP if they will sign an Early Day Motion (EDM) on the CEE Bill. We'll be starting one soon in the new 2021 parliamentary session. EDMs are one of various mechanisms that MPs use to build awareness of proposed legislation. For our campaign, this is a way of raising the profile of the CEE Bill in Parliament. To learn more about EDMs, see this parliamentary webpage

As we mentioned above in the section on checking whether your MP supports already, there’s still so much you can do to help the campaign, even once your MP has declared support for the Bill. 

What do you do if they don’t support? 

Unfortunately, it’s more likely your MP won’t support the Bill to begin with. This can feel disappointing, but it is also unsurprising. If most MPs supported our Bill from the get-go, there wouldn’t have been a need for our campaign in the first place! So it’s important not to get disheartened. Letters and emails to MPs are the backbone of our campaign. Even if you feel as though you’ve been given the brush-off, every time an MP hears about the Bill from a constituent, it becomes more likely they’ll look seriously at the issues and discuss them with parliamentary colleagues. So you have made a key contribution in raising awareness. And, more importantly, you’ve begun a conversation. You now have a couple of options – you can do either or both. 

You can get back to your MP and respond to specific points they’ve raised as to why they can’t support the Bill. First check this webpage to see whether you’ve received one of the standard template replies we are seeing from Conservative and Labour MPs. The page also includes some pointers on how to respond. The main thing to remember though is that it’s more important to stay engaged and keep up the pressure on your MP than to craft perfectly constructed counter-arguments to every one of their points. 

The second option is reach out to other constituents and start to build pressure on your MP together. For more on that, go to the next section on Reach out to others

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