Rules To Take Note Of Before Writing To Your MP
From WriteToThem messaging terms and conditions
(WhatTheyKnow also uses WriteToThem)
Do not copy or paste text directly into their messages.
Spamming lots of representatives with near-identical messages is definitely bad behaviour and most of the duplicate messages will be filtered out automatically and will never get to the representatives.
All identikit messages are blocked by WriteToThem.com . All you will achieve is irritation amongst your own supporters (here’s more information about why we do that) .
It’s better to provide a short list of points which people can then make in their own words. Messages written by individuals will never be blocked unless they are clearly abusive or break our conditions of use.
Do not spam people.
only people living in the UK should sign this petition or contact MPs.
Too many large campaigns that have inadvertently encouraged non-UK residents to dig up a UK address to use as their own when contacting a representative.
Alternately you can just copy and paste your MP’s email into your own email client and mail them directly from your own email address.
Why write directly to the relevant Politician?
You should also consider writing to a Minister directly in charge of addressing the issue in addition to writing to your MPs.
Consider writing a letter
- Writing to your MP greatly increases your likelihood of receiving a response. The vast majority of MPs will almost always respond to letters from constituents and will be happy to forward your request on to the relevant Minister (even if they disagree with you). So ask them to also forward to relevant Minister. In turn, the Minister will be obliged by Parliamentary convention to respond.
- You can educate your MP in the process. Even if your MP is not the direct target of the action, your letter provides them with an opportunity to learn about the issue and take action themselves.
There will be occasions where it is more strategic to write directly to other decision-makers, such as the Secretary of State for International Development, or even the Prime Minister.
Do not Use Template letters
MPs and their researchers have confirmed on numerous occasions that an original letter sent by one committed, passionate constituent is far more powerful than a pile of identical letters or postcards.
Mass email actions and template letters have less impact because the MP knows that they only take a few seconds to complete and are not necessarily representative of the priorities of their constituents.
The fact that you have taken the time to craft a personalised and well-informed letter demonstrates to the MP that there are people in their constituency that care deeply about an issue. In turn, your opinions are likely to be taken more seriously as a result.
Handwritten or email?
Every MP is different. Some are happy to correspond with constituents via email whereas others give a preference to written letters.
The best postal address for your MP is their Westminster address (House of Commons, London, SW1A 0AA).
If your MP is not in Westminster, the post is automatically forwarded on to them.
Writing your letter
Be succinct – aim for your letter to be no longer than one and a half sides of A4.
Keep to the point – focus on one issue and don’t try and cover too many things in one letter.
Don’t forget to include your address- so that your MP knows where to send the response.
Check your MP’s correct title- do you address them as Mr, Mrs, Dr, Sir, Rt. Hon? You can check by looking up your MP on the official Parliament website: www.parliament.uk.
Structuring your letter
If this is your first letter to your MP, you might want to start by introducing yourself and sharing why you care about the issue that you are raising. If you have a personal connection to the topic of your letter then this is a great way of engaging your MP and conveying your passion and commitment. Remember to acknowledge your MP for any supportive actions that they have already taken – MPs rarely hear the words ‘thank you’ from their constituents.
Also, check the website www.theyworkforyou.com as you can find lots of details about your MP and particularly their voting record. If they are interested in international development, you should use this in your opening.
3 Ask for a response.
2 After the introductory paragraph
After the introductory paragraph, your letter should follow a structure:
a) Engage your MP. Get your MP’s attention with a dramatic fact or short statement.
b) State the problem. Present the causes of the problem you just introduced. How widespread or serious is the problem?
c) Inform the MP about the solutions. Develop your solutions if need be.
d) Call to Action. Now that you’ve engaged your MP, presented the problem and informed them of a solution, you need to let them know what you want them to do about it with solutions if need be.
What to do afterwards
Pressing ‘send’ or putting your letter in the post is not the end of your action!
a) Follow up with your MP. If you haven’t had an acknowledgement of your letter after a couple of weeks, give your MP’s office a ring to check they have received your letter.
b) Share your reply. When you receive a response from your MP, share a copy with unsafewomen-unsafeseats.uk so that we can collate all of the responses.
c) Even it is seems that the response you received individually wasn’t great, don’t be down heartened. It is the strength of the unsafewomen-unsafeseats network that drives change, and by writing that letter you have directly inputted into that collective effort.