We can influence MPs by
- Inviting them to meet with people seeking sanctuary
- Demonstrating the widespread support across the UK for a society that welcomes and protects people seeking sanctuary that are fleeing violence and persecution.
- Showcasing the groups and organisations providing welcome e.g. Schools, Universities, Libraries, Churches and so on
There are now several petitions and MP briefings available. see the links in the menu. We encourage and support the City of Sanctuary network to take the key actions to help reduce the impact of this proposed draconian bill.
How to engage your MP
Since this heartless bill will be passed or defeated in Parliament, the single most effective thing you and your group can do is mobilise as many people as possible to talk to your MP and try to influence their vote.
Supportive MPs – MPs across all parties already support us. They need your support so contact them even if you know they are on our side and give them support. Encourage them by showing how much support there is in their constituencies. Ask them to engage with and influence other MPs.
Opposing MPs – MPs in the majority government are likely to vote for the bill but you may be able to get their support for specific amendments or even to abstain if they are unwilling to vote against the government. It is vitally important these MP’s are aware of the strength of feeling against this bill. The journey to change will be longer for some MPs and your influence will continue long after the bill.
MPs need educating about the impact of this bill – it will not achieve what the Government purports it will. They also need to be made aware that their constituents really do support refugee rights and oppose the bill. Please don’t give up if they don’t respond or if you know that they are strongly supportive of the bill. Get to know them – find out their interests, introduce them to people seeking sanctuary with similar interests, make sure their offices are flooded with positive messages asking for their support for a welcoming Britain and a fair asylum system.
Mobilise your support base
This means mobilising as many people as possible to send letters / emails to their MP, and to attend meetings with the MP. The more people who contact their MP the more the MP will take notice and the more likely they will read, talk to you about it, and consider it beyond their party line. MPs need to know that they have lots of constituents who want a fair and humane asylum system, that they want people seeking asylum to be treated fairly and be provided with protection if they need it regardless of how they got here. MPs need to know that their constituents will not accept legislation that discriminates and fails to adequately protect those who seek asylum. MPS will listen to those who write / speak with their hearts regardless of the intricacies of the bill. MPs will be influenced by meeting people seeking sanctuary. People who will tell them what the bill would mean to them, how they could not get here any other way, how they might not be doing the jobs they are doing and contributing what they contribute if they arrived under the proposed rules.
Look at the Celebrating Sanctuary Toolkit for ideas on organising public meetings with your MPs. Make the most of existing influencers, leaders in your city / community. Involve your supporter base, organisations that have pledged or shown their support and any awarded organisations such as the University, local schools, the library etc. This is in line with two or our principles:
- Recognise and encourage partnership working and network development across localities;
- Identify opportunities for practical action and work on common cause issues to effect change within and across communities (turning empathy into action);
Asylum Matters has published a new set of resources for engaging your MP and national, regional and local leaders (such as MSPs, MSs, Metro Mayors and Councillors) on the anti-refugee bill and calling on them to support a different approach. These include:
A guide to engaging your MP on the anti-refugee bill
A template letter to your MP
A guide to engaging national, regional and local decision-makers on the bill
Follow the link to access these: