Contacting your MP
One of the most powerful ways we can help the environment is by letting our Member of Parliament (MP) know what we think. And that can mean more than just choosing to vote for them or not.
Technically you can write a letter or email to any MP, but they are only required to send you a reply if you live in their constituency.
As MPs tend to have very busy schedules, it’s unlikely they’ll respond to someone who they don’t represent in Parliament. That’s why it’s the best use of your time to contact your own MP.
And anyway – since you’re one of the people responsible for whether they get to keep their job or not, MPs always want to know what their constituents think!
MPs split their time between working in Parliament, working in their constituency and working for their political party.
The bulk of their work is in the House of Commons. This can include raising issues affecting their constituents, attending debates and voting on new laws. They have a number of ways they can do this. They can ask a question of a government minister on your behalf, or ones which support and highlight particular campaigns which local people feel strongly about.
Most MPs are also members of committees, which look at issues in detail and produce reports that evaluate government policy.
All this means that even if your MP isn’t in the government, or is but isn’t in a position looking specifically at environmental issues, there are still ways they can represent you and, potentially, make a difference.
If you don’t know who your MP is, you can find out by visiting the Parliament website and entering your postcode. It also has other details like contact information and how you should address them when you write to them, as well as details of any positions they might have, like a job within a government department, or if they sit on any committees.
The MPs in Greater Manchester (by constituency) are:
- Altrincham and Sale West – Sir Graham Brady (Con)
- Ashton-under-Lyne – Angela Rayner (Lab)
- Blackley and Broughton – Graham Stringer (Lab)
- Bolton North East – Mark Logan (Con)
- Bolton South East – Yasmin Qureshi (Lab)
- Bolton West – Chris Green (Con)
- Bury North – James Daly (Con)
- Bury South – Christian Wakeford (Lab)
- Cheadle – Mary Robinson (Con)
- Denton and Reddish – Andrew Gwynne (Lab)
- Hazel Grove – William Wragg (Con)
- Heywood and Middleton – Chris Clarkson (Con)
- Leigh – James Grundy (Con)
- Makerfield – Yvonne Fovargue (Lab)
- Manchester Central – Lucy Powell (Lab Co-op)
- Manchester Gorton – Afzal Khan (Lab)
- Manchester Withington – Jeff Smith (Lab)
- Oldham East and Saddleworth – Debbie Abrahams (Lab)
- Oldham West and Royton – Jim McMahon (Lab Co-op)
- Rochdale – Tony Lloyd (Lab)
- Salford and Eccles – Rebecca Long-Bailey (Lab)
- Stalybridge and Hyde – Jonathan Reynolds (Lab Co-op)
- Stockport – Nav Mishra (Lab)
- Stretford and Urmston – Kate Green (Lab)
- Wigan – Lisa Nandy (Lab)
- Worsley and Eccles South – Barbara Keeley (Lab)
- Wythenshawe and Sale East – Mike Kane (Lab)
Another useful resource is TheyWorkForYou.com. This site can also tell you who your MP is, as well as how they’ve voted on certain issues or specific laws. You can see any contributions they’ve made to particular debates in Parliament too.
Contacting your MP about environmental issues is as simple as writing a letter or an email, but it’s worth looking on sites like those above, as well on the MP’s website and on local news, to see whether they’ve said anything about your issue before. And even if it seems like they haven’t, see if they’ve spoken on other environmental issues, or issues that could be related to the environment, and start with that. Your chances of having a meaningful conversation with them are much higher if you start by finding some common ground with them.
Once you’ve done that, you can write a letter or email. You might be really passionate or angry about an issue, but it’s important to write an email that is polite, even (or especially) if it’s something you and your MP disagree on. You can also suggest arranging a meeting to discuss this issue with your MP.
There are also organisations that can help with this. One is Hope for the Future, a charity who support people to build working relationships with their elected representatives.
They want to see communities and their elected representatives come together to take decisive action on climate change. They offer group training in effective MP engagement, which draws from a range of disciplines including conflict resolution, counselling, influencing theory and climate communications. They also offer one-to-one support, including research into your MP, assistance with letter writing and facilitating MP meetings themselves.
They have a new Northwest office and are eager to support people in working with their MP, particularly if you live in one of the following constituencies:
- Heywood and Middleton
- Bury South
- Bury North
- Bolton North East
- Oldham West and Royton
If you would like help from Hope for the Future, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org to get in touch.