Lobby your MP
MPs are there to help with matters for which central government is responsible.
Lobbying an MP can have a huge impact on making them more aware of the issues surrounding pancreatic cancer. However, the average MP will have 90,000 constituents so how can you make sure your plea for help is prioritised?
Be clear about what you want
Before you get in touch with your MP, you need to be clear about what it is you’re asking them to do. It’s important to present them with the issues surrounding pancreatic cancer but they also need to know what they can do about it. Here are examples of what you could ask them to do:
- join the APPG for pancreatic cancer
- ask them to write or meet with the Health Minister about your issues, a relevant organisation, official or minister to raise your concerns
- raise issues in the House of Commons by asking an oral question or tabling a written question
- request an adjournment debate – half an hour usually set at the end of the day
Write to your MP
If you are feeling daunted by the idea of having to write a letter, why not use our MP Template Letter and adapt it to highlight your personal interest because your MP is more likely to pay greater attention it.
We also have a letter which specifically highlights the chronic under funding of pancreatic cancer research and cancer research funding inequalities: Template letter to MP on research Inequalities
MPs receive hundreds of standard e-mails and while we often encourage you to use our template letters to contact your MP about a particular issue, it’s worth spending time making your communication personal, using our suggested wording as a guide.
With many public figures using Twitter, tweeting your MP is an easy and personal way to engage with your MP. When tweeting it’s best to:
- Show how pancreatic cancer has affected you personally
- Try to get a dialogue going by asking them a question
- Highlight the facts and statistics of pancreatic cancer and ask them to get involved
- Use links, for example our website: www.panact.org
- Use Hastags, for example #PancreaticCancer
Read our How To Twitter guide here.
With the general election just weeks away we want MPs to be made aware of the issues surrounding pancreatic cancer so we have put together some suggested tweets for you, download here: What to tweet to your MP
Lobby by phone
Very few people lobby their MP by phone but it can be a great way to get heard and initiate discussions. If you decide to call them, prepare in advance what you want to say and keep it concise to include, at most, your top concerns or issues.
Face to face
MPs admit that being able to discuss issues face to face with constituents has the most impact for them.
All MPs have constituency surgeries (usually on a Friday, although sometimes at weekends and evening slots), and you can phone or email their constituency office to arrange a suitable time and date to meet them.
Many MPs will want to know the issues you are going to raise in advance to be able to prepare for the meeting so prepare an agenda and some notes to take along to the meeting.
Don’t assume your MP is an expert on pancreatic cancer, most MPs will have a small amount of knowledge about lots of issues and are likely to know far less about this issue than you. You can take along some of our awareness materials with you.
Doing a bit of research on your MP may give you an idea on how well informed they are. It might be that they are part of the APPG or have spoken about pancreatic cancer in parliament. The best place to look at is their website or www.theyworkforyou.com.
Are there others in your constituency who can support you?
Organising for a group of people to lobby their MP face-to-face not only demonstrates to the MP that a number of their constituents care about concerns relating to pancreatic cancer, but also can allow you to share the topics and information you want to raise between you, allowing you to focus on the areas you feel most comfortable with.
Try to note down, either during the meeting or soon afterwards, the points that were raised, and your MP’s replies. In particular, capture anything that your MP agreed to do e.g. writing to the health minister or timetabling a question.
Build the relationship
If your MP does agree to act on the issues you have raised remember to thank them. At this point you may want to organise another meeting to develop ideas with them about what more can be done to progress the issue.
And remember, f they have not done what they had agreed to do, contact them to ask them if they are still intending to carry out what they had agreed and if there’s anything you can do to.