How to write to your MP
Christians write to their MPs or local councillors about all sorts of issues. One of our research reports showed that they write on everything from local issues, to religious persecution, or poverty and environmental campaigns. Some of the issues will just affect a particular local area, but could also be a nationwide or international issue that many MPs are interested in. MPs are keen to hear from their constituents and will usually take time to respond.
If you’re not sure who your MP is you can find out by going to www.theyworkforyou.com and entering your postcode. Send your letter to (name of MP) MP, House of Commons, Westminster, London, SW1A 0AA, you can also reach the House of Commons’ switchboard on 020 7219 3000.
When writing to your MP:
- Take some time to find out about the issue, including anything your MP might have already said in parliament or the press.
- Set out your views in a clear and brief manner and ensure that you are courteous and respectful at all times.
- If you’ve got any personal examples it helps to add those to illustrate your point.
MPs will generally respond to all letters and emails from their constituents, and they generally won’t if you don’t live in the area they represent. This isn’t because they don’t care, but down to parliamentary procedure so they’ll forward your letter on to your MP. The exception to this are government ministers and opposition spokespeople, so if you’re writing about an education issue it might be worth writing to the relevant people in the major parties asking for their views. If this is the case make sure that you’re writing to them in that capacity rather than as an MP.
Many political campaigns use postcards and standard letters to help generate a lot of support for their cause. While such campaigns can be effective, and the sheer weight of numbers can cause an MP to think again about an issue, usually a carefully written individual letter will be better received. A template letter or card is also more likely to receive a standard reply in response.
If you’re writing about a bill going through parliament keep an eye on its progress and it may be appropriate to write a further letter at a crucial time or to thank them for their support.