There are many template letters to MP’s about the Nationalities and Borders Bill, but don’t make the mistake of using the template letter as it stands. Change it. MP’s get hundreds of letters every day and their staff become adept at spotting a template letter and chances are, if you send a template letter to your MP, you will get a template reply and nothing more will happen. So here are some tips:
- Don’t send an email. You all know how easy it is to ignore an email. Write a proper letter. Politicians pay more attention to a well written letter and are more likely to reply in a similar way. There is a legal obligation to reply to letters from constituents but not emails.
- Give your name and address. MP’s will only respond to their own constituents. A letter to a Minister will receive no attention unless you happen to be a constituent of that Minister.
- Be polite. As much as an issue might make you angry, an angry letter will achieve nothing and will negatively effect any further contact with your MP.
- Keep it short and make it look like a letter, not a briefing document. A single page of A4 in 11 or 12 font is adequate. Politicians are busy people and are unlikely to read a long letter. You can always offer to send more information.
- Make it personal to you. Why does this matter to you?
- Have an ‘ask’. Give your MP something to do on your behalf and put your ‘ask’ early on in the letter so the MP knows why you are writing. And only ask your MP to do one thing. If you have another ‘ask’ save it for another time.
- Research your MP. Think about why s/he should care about this issue. Do they have sanctuary seekers in their constituency for example? Have they shown past interest in this issue?
- If you are asking your MP to write to a Minister on your behalf, make sure it is the correct Minister. The Minister for Future Borders and Immigration is not Priti Patel but Kevin Foster. Ask your MP to forward on any reply s/he receives. This forces them to do what you have asked them to do and also gives you an opening for a further letter.
- Finish by thanking them for taking the time to read your letter and tell them you look forward to receiving a reply
- Get a friend or relative to proof read your letter before you send it off. If they are interested, the MP will be too.
And on that subject, you can also write to a Peer. The House of Lords has tremendous power to influence legislation and Lords get less mail than MP’s so are more likely to read your letter. Here is how to find a Lord who might be interested in the subject – and it is remarkably easy! Go to this link and then click on ‘show more options’. Then click on ‘Policy interests’ and from the drop down menu click on ‘asylum, immigration and nationality’ to find Lords who have shown interest in this issue in the past. One note of caution – you do have to use the correct term of address to a Lord and there is a helpful guide here.
For more information and actions on the Nationality and Borders Bill go to the City of Sanctuary Borders Bill website.