Meeting your MP

Meeting your MP

Meeting your MP can be a scary prospect for some people. In this film clip, VSO volunteers talk about meeting their MPs in Parliament to promote our Women in Power campaign.

In the run-up to the UK General Election, why not contact your local Parliamentary candidates to tell them about your support for international development? After the election, you can contact your newly elected MP to tell them why international development matters.

Here, our Parliamentary Team share their top tips on how to prepare to meet your MP and then how to conduct your meeting. Just remember that your MP was elected to represent you and they want to hear what you have to say. 

If you do your research and find out about your MP’s interests and tailor your approach to take into consideration their interest your meeting will run smoothly. 

Before meeting your MP find out a bit about them:

  • What party do they belong to?

  • Research your MPs interests, the issues they focus on regularly, their voting record, hobbies, university and travel. These are all details that might be helpful when speaking to your MP. Doing even a small amount of research can help to tailor your approach and engage with your MP.

  • Understand your MPs position in the Government/Shadow Government. Are they backbench MPs? Ministers? Select Committee Chairman? 

This information is readily available on a number of websites: search for them on Google, visit theyworkforyou.com and the MPs individual website will be able to give you an insight into the person you're about to meet.

MPs are interested in what you have to say because you’re their constituent. They will be interested if you’re interested – show them your passion! 

  • You can see your MP in their constituency – they usually have surgeries on Fridays and Saturdays. With some you have to book appointments, others you turn up and queue. It is best to contact their office first and find out the best way of meeting them. It is also best to confirm the duration of your meeting so that you can prepare your points in advance.

  • As a constituent, your MP has a responsibility to meet you. And if you ask them to write to a Minister, they should take your request further, but MPs are busy people. You should prepare a template or briefing sheet with bullet points by email so they can adapt the letter. It will make it easier for MPs to do carry out your request. You should also leave your MP with some printed information for them to keep.

  • You shouldn’t be intimidated by your MP. Everyone has a right to lobby their local MP, regardless of whether or not you voted for them. MPs usually enjoy meeting their constituents and hearing about their views.

  • MPs won’t expect you to know absolutely everything about an issue - you may find that you actually know more than your MP. Draw on personal experiences; tell them any context or background information, why you are passionate about the issue and stories that bring the situation to life (where relevant). If you don’t know the answer to a question it’s absolutely fine to be honest and say that you’ll try to find out and let them know. Write the question down and get in touch with us on 020 8780 7500 (Parliamentary Team) and we will help you to respond. 

During your meeting - Remember to: 

  • Tailor your story to your MPs interests

  • Keep it relevant! Has there been something in the news about this issue?

  • Can you support your story with relevant research, facts or statistics?

  • Use your stories' power to add human impact and emotion to give power to policy prescriptions.

  • Make sure you ask them what you would like them to do

Conducting your Meeting:

  • Thank your MP for taking the time to meet you

  • Be concise and precise. Stick to your message.

  • Remember to explain why this is important!

  • Use real life examples or personal experience – why are you passionate about this issue

  • Don’t forget to ask the best way to get back in touch and follow up with the issue you raised.

After your meeting:

  • Following your meeting you should write to your MP to thank them.

  • If your MP agrees to write to a Minister or follow up on your request and you haven’t heard back within a month. You should email or phone to check on their progress.

  • Don’t forget to maintain your relationship with your MP. 

If you do your research and find out about your MP’s expertise you can tailor your approach to match your MPs.

Just remember that your MP was elected to represent you and they want to hear what you have to say. 

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