There are two things that I urgently need to do: change my mobile phone contract and call my MP to ask them to stay at work for the second reading of the UK International Development Bill this Friday. I’m only dreading one of them.
I’ve called my MP before. I left a message, and they called me back later that afternoon, personally.
I was amazed. It was like speaking to an actual human being.
I thought I’d be nervous but it was fine, and they were lovely. I felt silly for ever being worried about it, but if you’d like some help planning what to say, I thought I’d share this excellent video and a few tips so you can just sit back, pick up the phone, and hopefully confirm that your MP is turning up on Friday too.
In case Billy’s Essex twang was a bit much for you to follow, here’s a simple script that should help you out.
Call the Houses of Parliament on 020 7219 3000 and ask to be put through to your MPs office.
You: Hello, my name is (your name) and I’m a constituent. I was hoping to speak to someone about the International Development Bill and to find out if (your MP’s name) is going.
Them: They might ask you to confirm your address, or ask for more information on the Bill.
You: My address is (your address). There will be a second reading of the International Development Bill, tabled by Michael Moore MP, on Friday 12 September and 100 MPs must be there to ensure it goes through this stage. I have campaigned on this issue for (ONE or other organisations) and believe in it because (add your own argument).
Them: Yes, your MP is going.
Them: Your MP might be going.
You: This issue is very important it is to me, and it’s the last opportunity for this government and all three major parties to uphold their promises to legislate on spending just 0.7% of national income on helping the world’s poorest people. I could email my MP more information if it might help convince them?
Them: No way, your MP will not attend.
You: Well, that is a real shame, because I and many other constituents care very deeply about this issue. You can also offer to send more information by email. Or consider moving house.
My top tips are to be polite, be passionate, thank them for their time and take notes. Follow up on anything that was raised, such as a request for more information or a link to our petition which shows more than 20,000 people support the Bill.
Now I’m off to the shops to get a new phone. Can anyone explain to me what 4G is?!