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Working with MPs:

Page history last edited by George Farebrother 12 years, 1 month ago


2 October 2009

Initial Work

Lesley Docksey has written an interesting response to last Saturdays meeting.  She feels that we must not try to run before we can walk.  On the other hand, we should try to achieve something fairly quickly in order to gain confidence and creditability.  We should therefore set ourselves early achievable tasks.

The website

We cannot wait until the website is up and running before we do something.  However, much of our ultimate objectives will depend heavily on it.  The first task is therefore to set up a pilot.  This is the responsibility of the IT Group. 

A Group of MPs

After the weekend Lesley Docksey will be getting in touch with you to see if you know any MPs who can help us.  The aim is to set up a small group, say half a dozen, who could advise us. Norman Baker and John McDonnell, who were at the Conference, are obvious candidates.  However, we should take care not to pack the group with obviously sympathetic people - usual suspects.  The main criterion is that they would be willing to engage in dialogue, even if they disagree with us on some issues.  They should also span the parties. If they are members of relevant All Party Groups, all the better. 

We should offer to meet our selected MPs in Westminster in a single meeting if possible, individually if necessary.  We should approach them by saying something like: 

We think weve got a problem - do you agree?  We need help and advice from MPs such as yourself so that other MPs can know more. Can you think of ways we could approach it and then put it before MPs and lawyers?  How would you, as a Parliamentarian tackle this?

This approach would empower them and make them more involved.

We could tell them that were thinking of a meeting in Parliament in 2010, probably concentrating on the ICC/Security Council issue.  This is a fairly non-confrontational area they would probably not know much about.  We could also tie this in with a small letter-writing campaign to MPs we have not selected.  If they pass these on to the FCO we might have useful information to use as examples.

First Steps

George will provide a:

  • draft covering letter to MPs which can be adjusted by the sender
  • one-sider outlining who we are and what we want
  • shortened information sheet on the ICC/Security Council problem

Lesley will:

  • to NetLap convene a small working group for this project
  • write people to come up with likely MPs
  • liaise with Robbie Manson and Nick Grief at a later stage

Lesley and I hope you will like these ideas and are certainly open to any comments.

Lesley Dockseys email is l.docksey@yahoo.co.uk



Here is Lesley's letter to NetLap people.  There is some repretion with the above but it does reinforce the approach we hope to take;

Following my discussion with George about how we go ahead after the Law & Accountability Conference, I know he contacted you all about my proposal
Briefly, it is this:
Before we try to set up any major meetings with MPs, or MPs and lawyers, we should contact a small number of MPs (no more than 5 or 6).  We will not, at this early stage, be engaging them in discussions about law, war and human rights.  Instead we will be seeking their help and input on how to proceed; finding out from them what they feel might be not only useful but welcome from us; how best to approach their colleagues in a way that would fit in with MPs'  work hours etc.  I think this approach will be attractive to them (make them feel important is probably more accurate!), and contacting a small number will make it easier to set up a meeting or meetings with them.  There is also the added benefit that working with a small group of MPs like this, we could make use of their secretaries/assistants to set up meetings etc with other people. 
I would like to hear from any of you who have managed to achieve some kind of relationship/dialogue with your MP, as I have with mine (Oliver Letwin, whose politics I hate but he is a good constituency MP and we have worked together on several local matters).  It does not matter what political party your MP represents - in fact, even in this small initial step, we need to have all parties represented if at all possible.  We need to be able to contact our MPs as constituents.  They are much more likely to put a bit of time aside for us.  We should not be thinking of those MPs we think would be helpful to our cause as an approach from someone not a constituent can often result in a brush-off.
If you think your MP might be worth contacting, please get in touch with me.  You, not the group, will be the one to approach your MP - the approach would then be personal and hopefully non-threatening.  Those who can (and are willing to) approach their MP can meet up, and discuss how we word our letters to them etc. and start things going.
Looking forward to hearing from at least some of you!
Lesley Docksey


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