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Early Day Motion's or I really don't know what to do
May 6, 2009 1:46 AM   Subscribe

UKPolitics: How do we best support an Early Day Motion?

Background: as per my previous question and comment in a MeFi thread, I've gotten myself involved in UK Politics.

I addressed another meeting of our local Council, we had some demonstrators outside and personally contacted all 51 Councillors before and after the meeting. It seems as through our pitch is now hitting it's stride as multiple newspapers carried story of our most recent engagement (even one that was previously negative towards us), we got an interview on radio and brief television spot as a result. Several of the local councilors are now contacting us, and I've been invited to their surgeries "for a chat" which I'm (optimistically) interpreting as a good sign.

We've had an MP down on the estate twice now, and not only did he write and distribute a scathing press release (which seriously helped drive media attention), his advisors told us he's planning to author an Early Day Motion in Parliament on our behalf.

So how do we support such a motion from our side? We're really looking for UK specific cultural help here, the do's and the don'ts. So is lobbying each and every MP to sign the motion accepted or would it be considered too aggressive? Sidenote: this is precisely the tactic we've been using with all 51 of LBTH's Councillors, and we haven't been rebuffed yet but we realise an MP is a big step up in UK visibility & importance.

If lobbying is accepted, how to proceed? We have our email, letter writing & telephoning engine tuned pretty well, and as an organisation are capable of deluging our targeted officials lots of contact originating from a broad spectrum of folks, but is this type of activity done at the MP level? Or is one (e.g., letter writing) favoured over another? Once again, we seriously don't want to cross any cultural boundaries here.

Most of the folks in our organisation have never even worked with the local Councillors, so this has been a learning experience for all of us (especially me as I'm American) and getting involved at the Parliamentary level will no doubt be another eye opener.

Are there any other ways besides lobbying that we can support an Early Day Motion from our side?
posted by Mutant to Law & Government (3 answers total)
 
The recent successful campaign regarding MPs expenses (discussed in this post, and outlined on MySociety here) might be a model. The individuals in your organisation need to mobilise their friends and families in other constituencies to write to their own MPs and ask them to sign the EDM, as this is likely to be more effective than lobbying from someone who can't vote for them. It may be worth following up directly those MPs that you know have been written to by several of their own constituents, but have not yet signed the motion. Depending upon the specific nature of the EDM, there may also be another subset of MPs that are worth approaching directly (e.g. if it addresses the treatment of minorities, try approaching minority MPs). Good luck.
posted by Jakey at 2:31 AM on May 6, 2009


As Jakey says, to mobilise other MPs than your constituency MP directly, you need to get as many people from different constituencies writing to them as possible. It is not the "done thing" to bombard MPs from outside your constituency with correspondence - their offices will probably just tell you to write to your own MP. Get supporter to ask their MPs whether they will be signing the EDM, but also suggest that they ask the MP to write to the relevant Government Minister seeking their view. This will get assigned as a Ministers' Case and will guarantee you a response from a Minister. If the department gets enough correspondence it may also make the Minister/department sit up to the issue. Letters/e-mails are the best way to go on all of this, in my experience.

In terms of direct action you yourself can take to lobby MPs, try:

- finding a relevant All Party Parliamentary Group and getting them involved
- writing to the relevant Select Committee to bring it to their attention.
posted by greycap at 3:50 AM on May 6, 2009 [1 favorite]


Thanks for all your insight guys.

To keep you folks fully informed, as you've really helped with this query, George Galloway's Early Day Motion, naming the RSL in question, Swan Housing, was presented to Parliament yesterday. George's EDM notes residents "extreme unhappiness" with Swan Housing (amoung other RSLs), and is asking for legislation to render social landlords in the UK accountable to residents as well as local councils.

Accountability or more properly, lack of, is a key concern; as per a previous query, Swan Housing has ignored members enquires or have otherwise delayed responding. It is very frustrating, to say the least.

This web site clearly documents the state of the Exmouth Estate - vandalism, lack of maintenance, non existent security - since Swan Housing took over in May 2006.

Once again, thanks for all your help! We've lined up folks across London and the rest of the country who will ask their local MPs to support George's Early Day Motion.
posted by Mutant at 2:59 AM on June 12, 2009


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