A Briefing Paper from the Social Responsibility
By Dr Rosemary Power of the Swindon Congregation – April
Writing to M.P.’s
These are a few suggestions for people wishing
to write to their M.P.s. They can of course be
adapted to Members of the European Parliament (details
are at the end) and to Local Councillors.
Check that you are writing to the M.P. who represents
your constituency. If you are unsure of their name
or the area they cover, go to www.parliament.uk
or ring the House of Commons Information Line on
0207 219 4272. It is also worth checking with them
the exact spelling of their name, their title and
their constituency address. An M.P. is expected
to answer correspondence from constituents. They
do not usually respond to letters from the constituents
of other Members of Parliament. M.P.s can be written
to through the www.Parliament.uk website, which
has a special page for each Member, or at the House
of Commons, London SW1A 0AA.
If your concerns relate to the work covered by
of one of the Ministers, it is advisable to write
to your constituency M.P. and ask them to pass
on your concerns to the relevant Minister. Letters
sent direct to the Prime Minister or other members
of the Cabinet will not necessarily receive a response.
However, your M.P. should receive a response to
their letter, which they will pass on to you.
Always be courteous. Most of our M.P.s are hardworking
and conscientious. They should be given credit
for their own action to date. Helpful actions relevant
to the issues you are writing about should be acknowledged.
Be clear, concise and to the point. M.P.s get a
huge postbag. A brief, legible letter or e-mail
which sets out the main points clearly will be
helpful and is likely to get a more effective response.
It is best not to engage in party political debate.
A Constituency M.P. once elected is there to represent
all members of the constituency, and while they
have party loyalties, they have a duty at least
to address your concerns. If you are writing on
an issue of social concern, party political discussion
may lead to a lack of clarity. Even if you object
strenuously to the politics of your M.P., you are
writing to them in their role as a public representative.
If you are writing on a contentious issue, avoid
abuse of the persons or organisations that may
take a different moral stance to yourself. Although
you may disagree with them heartily, there is every
likelihood that they see themselves as operating
from a morally and socially responsible position.
Your M.P. will be more impressed if you stick to
your arguments and put them clearly rather than
engage in debate with persons not present.
If you have specialist knowledge of the subject
about which you are writing, add it, perhaps on
a separate paper. M.P.s cannot be experts on everything
and are grateful to constituents who are able to
highlight the details of specific concerns in a
knowledgeable way. If you produce a paper of this
kind, give references to where further information
may be found so your M.P. can see he or she can
undertake further research.
If you are not satisfied by the response from your
M.P., you could write again, highlighting the areas
where you feel progress or discussion has not taken
place. It is also worth thanking them for their
work to date. You can also attend one of the M.P.s
constituency surgeries. These occur approximately
every fortnight. Their page on the Parliament website,
or the Information Line will put you through to
the M.P.’s own number where you can find
details of where and when such surgeries will take
place. Alternatively, their Party Constituency
Office may provide this information for you. If
you want to suggest they meet with a group, most
M.P.s use Friday as a constituency day.
M.P.s are contacted by large numbers of people
on all kinds of issues. In addition to their direct
Parliamentary work they often sit on Select Committees
or engage in overseas work for the Government.
They may not always be available when you want
them. They also have a private life and go on holidays!
They are human beings, they are usually approachable,
and they are likely to be willing to engage in
discussion with their constituents.
Factsheets are produced by the House of Commons
Information Service on how Parliament works.Writing
MEPs are Members of the European Parliament. They
are elected from all of the Member States of the
European Union. They represent national interests
and also regional interests where relevant, in
the European Parliament which meets in Brussels.
MEPs no longer individually represent constituencies.
Each Region of England and Northern Ireland, functions
as a large Constituency returning several MEPs.
If you have an issue to take up with an MEP you
can write to any or all of these people. In practice
they will have certain specialisms. They can be
The European Parliament,
For further information telephone 020 72 274300
or look it up on the web at www.europarl.org.uk.
The phone number for the European Parliament in
Brussels is 00 3 222 842111.
If you are uncertain of whether an issue is a national
or a European one, it is probably advisable to
first contact your M.P.
General Guidelines for letters to MEPs are the
same as for MPs. You can ask them to take up an
issue with the relevant Minister for the European
Parliament. You may also wish to copy your letter
to them direct. For example, copies of letters
on issues of international concern can be sent
to the Secretary-General of the Council of the
E.U. and High Representative for the Common, Foreign
and Security Policy. The information line number
in London above can keep you up-dated on changes.