Writing a letter to your MP only takes a short amount of your time. It is a great way to engage them in issues you care about. You can also invite them along to an event you are planning.
Your MP may receive hundreds of letters and emails every week, some local and some national. Your letter needs to stand out to get them interested in your cause.
Here are a few top tips to get your letter noticed.
Try and keep your letter to one and a half sides of A4.
Get to the point
Focus on one issue and how it affects you or your club/group. Explain how the issue is affecting your activity and enjoyment. The more personal and relevant to the constituency the better.
Include your address
It is important that you include your address and that it is within your MP’s constituency. An MP will usually stick to the rule of only writing back to people within their constituency. Make sure you check exactly who your MP is (see form below).
Also, check their correct title. Is it Mr, Mrs, Dr, Sir, Rt. Hon?
Give them something to do!
It is important that you ask your MP to do something for you! You could ask them to join you on a clean up.
Or, visit your club, group or project, or to write to the relevant Minister on your behalf. An MP can also ask written questions to the Minister as well.
Most will help you draft a question. Whatever you do, ask them for a response to your letter.
Post or email?
Both. Every MP is different. Some are happy to correspond with constituents via email. 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, someone will forward it on to them.
If you don’t get a response, follow it up. It is quick and easy to call the constituency office and they will be able to follow up on your letter.
Why doesn’t British Canoeing provide templates for letters?
A MP prefers to receive an original letter sent from a constituent. It is far more powerful than a pile of identical template letters.
Mass email actions and template letters tend to have less impact. This is because they know they only take a few seconds to complete.
They are not always representative of the priorities of their constituents. Crafting a personal and well-informed letter demonstrates you care about an issue.
British Canoeing can provide guidance about what to write, but it is up to you to make it relevant to your locality.
See our example letter for inviting an MP to your Big Paddle Cleanup event >>
Top tips on meeting your MP
There are few better ways to get the message across to MP’s than having a conversation face to face. Here are a few things to consider to make the most of your meeting. Choose a good time to meet. They are most often in the constituency on Fridays and at weekends.
Think about the type of meeting you want. You could arrange to meet your MP at one of their constituent surgeries. These are usually held on Fridays at their offices or in local venues such as faith or community centres. Check their website for details.
Inviting your MP to an activity provides an opportunity for them to see the problem first hand. It is also a good opportunity for photographs.
Going paddling is not something a MP gets invited to do every day, so they may not know what to expect. Make sure the activity is appropriate, safe and easy.
Be clear on the plan and don’t make it overly complicated. No MP wants to put themselves in an embarrassing situation!
Plan ahead. Make sure you prepare what you want to say and what you want to ask them to do.
Use social media! Ask your MP if they will have a photo with you and Tweet about your meeting or visit. It is good publicity for them and for you.
Find out who you represents you, below: