Contacting your MP: why, when and how
21 January 2021 by Grace Da Costa
Are you interested in finding out more about how to engage with politics? Would you like to speak out about a current political issue?
Quakers are engaged in politics on a national, local, and individual level. We do not always hold a discerned corporate position, and often individual Quakers disagree.
To find out how individuals and meetings can engage with politicians visit our Political engagement page.
21 January 2021 by Grace Da Costa
The Scottish parliamentary elections will be held on the 6 May. In collaboration with colleagues in the Scottish Churches Parliamentary Office (SCPO), our Parliamentary Engagement Officer, Andrew Tomlinson, has produced a set of resources to help Friends engage with the election. There are three ways we are encouraging Friends to consider getting involved.
A series of issues and campaigns briefings are now available on the SCPO website. These cover a range of topics including military visits to schools, asylum migration and refugees, a just and green recovery, and much more. Each briefing comes with a series of questions you can ask candidates.
A template email (see the Word document attached) has been produced for you to send to candidates inviting them to speak to your local meeting. One of the most powerful things you can do is approach your local candidates and ask them to meet with you. Once you have names and contact details, you can tailor the email and contact candidates individually. It will be more effective if one person sends the email on behalf of your local meeting, rather than several of you sending it as individuals.
You can find out the names and email addresses of the people standing for parliament in your area by going to Who Can I Vote For?
Not all the parties will have announced their candidates yet, so you may have to keep an eye out for when they do.
A guide to holding an online hustings can be found here. We recognise that the Covid19 restrictions have made it harder to host a hustings, and yet they are a key part of the democratic process. If this is something you would like to consider then do get in touch with Andrew at firstname.lastname@example.org.
We've created some resources to help campaign for a better economy and society after the coronavirus pandemic. Our Build Back Better briefing for MPs and Peers (PDF) was sent to all parliamentarians in June 2020.
briefing for Friends (PDF) will help you uphold and promote the Quaker vision for build back better both nationally and in your community.
This early general elections guide (PDF) written in 2019 will help Quakers engage with politicians in the run-up to a possible general election in late 2019 or early 2020.
Quakers across Britain hold a range of different views. Britain Yearly Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends holds no discerned position on membership of the European Union.
Meeting for Sufferings, our representative body, has previously said: “ We pray for those in positions of power. We call on them, as public servants, to work with all of good faith to build the world we seek. There can be no peace without justice; no love without trust; and no unity without equality. Our faith urges us to welcome the stranger as our equal and friend, feed those who are hungry and shelter those who are homeless, needy and frightened."
We have written about Brexit here:
Download one of our guides about politics below. If you need more information please email Grace Da Costa, parliamentary engagement officer, at email@example.com.
Please also tell us if you write to your elected representatives or take political action locally. It's invaluable for us to build up a picture of political engagement across Britain.
This guide is for individuals and groups who want to know more about how to engage with local government. It provides an overview of the structures of local government in Scotland, England and Wales, the Quaker concerns it works on, and ways of engaging with it. Local government: a guide for Quakers (PDF).
The contacting your MP briefing (PDF) gives advice on how to engage with politics. It will help you to decide on an approach, contact your MP if appropriate, and engage with them further when they respond.
You can also use the briefing to help you engage with local councillors, Members of the Scottish Parliament (MSPs) or Members of the Senedd (MSs).
The elections and hustings briefing (PDF) is to help area and local meetings decide whether to hold a hustings during elections, and to provide information for those who do. It provides advice on who to invite and how to plan hustings.
You may also be interested in one of these links to external political websites:
Grace Da Costa
Parliamentary Engagement Officer
Quakers in Britain
020 7664 1107