Step three: Lobby your MP
Talking to MPs is a crucial part of our campaign strategy. Your MP is supposed to represent your interests, and so has a responsibility to take on any concerns you raise with him or her.
Your MP can:
Write to government ministers to raise your concerns. We are focusing particularly on the Treasury and the Department for International Development (DFID). They should inform you of the response they receive.
Sign Early Day Motions. An Early Day Motion (EDM) is like a petition in Parliament that MPs can sign to show support for a motion. The more MPs we get to sign an EDM, the more pressure there will be on the government to act on our demands. People & Planet will have an Early Day Motion tabled in mid-November when Parliament restarts for the Autumn. We need as many MPs to support it as possible.
People & Planet and the Stop AIDS Campaign coalition, are supporting an EDM on DFID’s new AIDS strategy and the action needed to meet universal access to HIV/AIDS treatment by 2010. You can read the full text of the EDM and check if your MP has signed it on the Government’s Early Day Motion webpage.
EDM 183: UNIVERSAL ACCESS TO HIV SERVICES
“this House welcomes the global commitment to achieve universal access to HIV prevention, treatment, care and support services by 2010; further welcomes the Prime Minister’s speech to the UN General Assembly calling on all nations to keep their promises on tackling poverty and disease; notes the current formulation of a new three-year Government strategy to tackle HIV and AIDS in the developing world; believes that the UK Government should use this strategy to outline how it will keep its part of the promise to achieve universal access by 2010; including effectively providing its fair share of funding needed to keep the universal access commitment, proportionate to the UK’s wealth, while also outlining concrete plans to promote affordable generic medicines and strengthen developing country health systems.”
- Ask parliamentary questions. Your MP can ask government ministers questions in the Houses of Parliament — asking what action they are taking on an issue.
On 29 November, Parliament Square will be transformed by a giant AIDS awareness ribbon made of 8,000 carnations — one for every person who dies of AIDS-related illnesses each day — and used as a visually striking centre-piece to lobby MPs. If you’re in or around London that Day this will be a great opportunity to meet your MP. It is close to Parliament — so not far for your MP to come — and they will also be attracted by the brilliant photo opportunity. There will also be plenty of people and resources there to support you.
How to get your MP to take the issue on
- Get lots of action cards signed and posted to show the support you have generated. The more of an MP´s constituents that raise an issue, the more effort he or she will put into doing something about it.
- If you have time, personal letters are even more effective. You could organise a letter-writing lunch to make it fun and encourage more people to take part.
- Invite your MP to an event you’ve organised, so they can see the support your campaign has. Giving your MP a taster of the action going on in their constituency will make them sit up and take notice. And if you invite the local press and your MP, they´ll both be keener to attend!
There is no more effective way to get an MP´s attention than personal contact from constituents. The more MPs are educated and lobbied by our constituents about global poverty and justice, the more we will press the Government to take action.”
John Battle MP
Meet your MP
Who is my MP? Find your MP at: www.upmystreet.com/commons/l/
You can arrange a meeting with your MP in his or her local constituency office to talk to them in more depth.
You don´t need to be an expert - you just need to be willing to ask your MP some questions. MPs have to keep up to date on a huge range of issues, and many will not have any detailed knowledge about access to medicines.
This makes it all the more important that they get to hear from you what needs to change if the UK is to meet its international commitments. Remember, they are there to represent you. If you don´t know the answer to all the MP´s questions, offer to find out later and write to them.
Try to leave with an agreement on the specific action your MP will take for you.
Don´t forget to ask your MP to:
- Write to the Secretary of State for International Development and the Chancellor of the Exchequer. Our demands can be found on the action cards, or you could give them a copy of the campaign briefing.
- Sign the EDM.
- Let them know that you will be interested to see their progress and to follow this meeting up with them.
Answering Tricky Questions
We’ve suggested some answers to tricky questions you might be asked on the Frequently Asked Questions page. If there are tricky questions we’ve not anticipated, you can submit them on this page too, and we´ll suggest a response.
Calling all Scottish groups!
The Department for International Development has a Scottish office near Glasgow. Why don’t you go along and tell them all about our Treat AIDS Now campaign? You could ask for a meeting with whoever works there on AIDS, or the head of DFID in Scotland, and take lots of students along to get our message across. If you would like any advice or support, contact the P&P Support Office.