How to write an effective letter to your MP
Many people get disillusioned when they write to their MP. While some do get a satisfactory response, many of us either get no reply, or get a a reply which does not answer the question we posed. We may conclude that there is some system in place which prevents MPs taking an interest (or taking action) on men’s issues, or that the MP is personally biased against men. Although some MPs will not be supportive, we have found no evidence of official ‘blocking’.
MPs receive 100s of emails a day and employ staff to deal with them. The party’s central office helps them deal with them all by providing template replies to common requests. This means that several different MPs offices will send similar replies to their constituents. Don’t be surprised by this.
It is likely that the reply you get will have been written by office staff rather than personally written or dictated by your MP.
Just because you don’t get the result you wanted, doesn’t mean your message was not effective. Think of it like an advertising campaign: if lots of MPs get lots of requests over an extended period, the chances of them ‘buying’ your idea are much higher.
- Think of your first letter as an opener. Anticipate a bland response and plan your response. Don’t spend too long creating a brilliant argument at this point.
- Remember that your message will first be read by office-staff. Think about it from their perspective.
- Keep you letter short. (Aim for 1 side of A4).
- Tell them you are a constituent, give your postcode.
- Make your letter personal. If using a template, campaign letter, personalise it. Say why you are interested/concerned.
- Tell your MP what you want them to do in the first paragraph.
- Your MP probably does not know much about the topic you are writing about. Assume very little knowledge.
- Keep it polite. Try not to be too emotive (unless talking about a personal story.) There is no evidence that rude, angry letters are effective.
- Expect to follow up with either a further letter, email, or a phone call. If you call the office, you will be answered by an office staff member. They are usually positive conversations. Ask whether your MP has seen the letter you sent (have the date you sent it handy). Explain that your question has not been answered.
- Be persistent: your ‘advertising campaign’ may take some time.
Find you MP’s contact details here.
Advice from other organisations
Letter-writing advice from Gingerbread.