Church Members stand in a long line of prophetic voices. Standing alongside the poor; the marginalised; the disenfranchised.
Now is your chance to speak out for those Jesus befriended. Hold your MP to Account
Join with Church Action on Poverty, Church Urban Fund and other organisations to lead the way in protecting the poor; and proclaiming God's will for his world.
Real accountability requires dialogue, so local groups of committed Christians (and others) agree to meet with their MP to discuss issues of concern. It is an opportunity to raise issues which are not normally part of an MP's surgery; but it can prove valuable indeed.
The political agenda is largely set by the national media, and usually does not reflect the concerns of ordinary people. If we are to make our views count at all in national politics, we need to be able to talk to our MP about these issues, and for the MP to listen – not just to feed us the party line. This would also help MPs to understand where their constituents are coming from on particular issues, and to use those views to inform their discussions and debates in Westminster.
Most MPs are likely to welcome support from local groups who are able to commit to getting a good number of people together, to enable them to sound out on issues, listen to constituents’ views and learn how they have been voting. Your aim should be to build a long-term relationship, and engender trust and mutual respect – even when you disagree!
This is also a great opportunity to engage with new MPs – of which there are a high number at the moment. They are just beginning to establish ways of being accountable to their electorate.
Join the MP Accountability Network
We invite your church, Churches Together group (or any other local group you are part of) to join our MP accountability network.
Democratic accountability will be hugely strengthened if groups across the country are willing to hold our MPs to account on a regular and ongoing basis. By working together, we can ensure that issues we care passionately about – poverty, social justice, climate change – are firmly on the political agenda.
To help you hold your MP accountable, we will provide you with advice, support and quarterly briefings on issues you can raise with your MP – and ways of monitoring what they are doing on your behalf at Westminster. You are, of course, more than welcome to raise issues of your own!
How often would we need to meet our MP?
There is no hard and fast rule, though it will probably make sense to plan around three accountability meetings a year – one for each Parliamentary term. The best time to meet is likely to be at the weekend (Friday evening/Saturday morning) – as MPs are in Westminster during the week.
What issues would we raise with our MP?
Hot local topics are likely to get a good turnout at the meeting – and your MP should want to hear what you have to say. We will also provide at least three briefings a year on issues – including topics currently being debated in Parliament, which you can press your MP on, or hear their views.
What support will we receive as part of the MP Accountability Network?
· Three to four briefings a year on topical issues to raise with your MP
· Access to training on ‘how to hold your MP to account’
· Information on how to keep up to date with what your MP is doing in Parliament
Yes, we want to hold our MP to account
We are willing to hold our MP to account for their actions on a regular basis. Please sign us up for the MP Accountability Network:
Church or group: ________________________________
Contact address: ________________________________
Parliamentary constituency: ______________________(You can check your constituency and MP details at http://www.theyworkforyou.com/ )
o We may wish to publish contact details of members of the MP accountability network to enable others within your constituency to get in touch. Please tick here if you do not want your details to be made publicly available.
You can also sign up online, at www.church-poverty.org.uk/2010election
Please return to Janet Ashton, MP Accountability Network, Church Action on Poverty, Dale House, 35 Dale Street, Manchester M1 2HF. Telephone 0161 236 9321. Email firstname.lastname@example.org