How to engage with your MP on the CEE Bill
1. Write to them
To start with
- Be polite and to the point
- Add your address (to show you are in their constituency and ensure they get back)
- Make your letter as personal as you can. You might like to start by writing a sentence which shows them that you know what they’ve been working on recently, you can look up what they’ve recently said in Parliament on Hansard. E.g.
- I am a Christian and a mother/Grandparent
- Thank you for responding to me about …
- I appreciate that you have recently spoken in Parliament in favour of x/y/z
- I have heard about your work in the constituency to x/y/z. Thank you for doing this.
What to ask for
- Make your ask clear. Put it within the first paragraph, and reiterate it at the end, format it in bold.
- Say why the climate and ecological emergency is so important to you, e.g.
- As a Christian I believe the earth and all that is in it is God’s creation and we have been charged with its care
- I have children/nieces/nephews/grandchildren and I am scared for their future
- Say why you think they should support the CEE bill. e.g.
- Parliament has acknowledged that we are in a climate and ecological emergency. This Bill is simply what an appropriate response to this would look like.
- I want my country to do our fair share to address the CEE and this bill would commit us to doing that
- It is essential to demonstrate clear leadership ahead of COP26 and this bill does that
- It brings honesty and responsibility back into climate legislation
- I want people in the UK to be able to hold our heads up high, knowing we are taking responsibility for our contribution to global heating, and inspire other countries to follow
- I like that it is fair and transparent – our entire carbon footprint is taken into account (including all of the emissions linked to the production and transport of goods from overseas that we consume in the UK)
- It doesn’t depend on technology (NETs) to save the day as an excuse for inaction
- I love the countryside and our native species and this bill protects nature, protecting and conserving habitats in the UK and internationally
- I have faith in the British people being able to decide how to move forward, by the use of a Citizens’ Assembly
- I see this as ‘legacy legislation’. What an opportunity for your life to make a difference to the world!
Other things to say
- You could also include the irrefutable request to implement the recommendations of the government’s independent advisors on how to adhere to their legal obligations under the 2008 Climate Change Act, including meeting the targets of the UK’s current carbon budget. They are currently not doing so.
- You could also, if you are writing before December, ask them to push for an ambitious National Climate Plan (Nationally Determined Contribution, NDC) to the UN, to help set the bar for other countries plans in the lead-up to COP26. Christian Aid has some good stuff on this.
Tips for Conservative MPs
- Be careful of language which could be used by Conservative MPs to evidence that supporters of the CEE Bill which to subvert democracy etc. (e.g. ‘We do not have the time to follow ordinary political processes). Conservatives do not respond well to the language of urgency and it is likely to make them defensive.
- Instead of talking about the extent of change which we need politically which risks the above, emphasise the extent of change that we are enacting through inaction, and the danger of the changes through business as normal scenarios.
- Use the language of conservation. We are failing to conserve. Also talk the language of global leadership/aspiration/the UK’s expertise.
- If appropriate, mention ways other Conservative MPs are working well in Parliament on this issue (e.g. Simon Clarke and Alex Chalke led the way to the Net Zero legislation) – Hope for the Future can help with this.
Tips for Labour MPs
- The language of justice, vulnerability, urgency works fine with Labour MPs.
- Many Labour MPs will be open to talking about climate, but may not actually know too much about climate policy, or have made some of the links to UK poverty etc.
- As Labour are the Opposition, you can frame your ask in terms of it being vital to hold the government to account over this next year.
See our sample letter to Labour politician.
Visit the CEE website to see if your MP’s response is a standard party response, and if so, how to respond.
Thanks to Rachel (below), we also have some suggested things to say if your MP sent you the standard Labour Party response:
- Thank you for your thorough response.
- Completely understand the limitations of the CEE bill being a presentation bill.
- I’m really pleased that you support the aims of the bill, and I’m wondering if in your work within the Labour party, there is consideration of some of the principles of the bill being included in future Labour party policy? Is it possible for you to advocate for this by talking with the Shadow Cabinet Climate Action Committee?
- I’d welcome a further conversation about this and I’m wondering if we could meet to discuss this, and how I can support your Parliamentary work in this area?
Please let us know what response you receive from your MP, whatever party they represent. We would love to help you formulate a response to them.
2. Meeting with your MP
Meeting your MP is one of the most important things you can do to help this campaign. You are unlikely to secure an ask just by writing, meeting an MP is the main way you can secure concrete action within Parliament.
Rachel Mander of Hope for the Future has offered to help with the planning of your meeting. Do contact her! Hope for the Future are the experts on engaging with MPs on climate. Rachel will go with your passion, which could be to push for the government to adhere to its own legal requirements, COP26, the CEE Bill, or all three!