Tuesday, 16 November 2010

Meeting with MPs

I met my MP last weekend. The occasion was the Stop Climate Chaos constituency lobby of MPs - see http://www.jointpublicissues.org.uk/ for the briefing pack for this action. It had already been a busy Saturday morning for Chris White and our group had the last appointment. We rattled through a list of demands and our discussion linked climate change policy to his interests and to the life of our local community in Leamington and Warwick.

Fuel poverty in Leamington and Warwick runs at huge 14% (around 7,000 households) which is roughly equivalent to the national average (2006/07). The private rented sector is particularly problematic and the government is proposing new measures to force landlords of the particularly poorly insulated properties (representing 20% of all privately let properties) to upgrade these houses. We also brought other national and international policy demands to Chris White’s attention.

My MP is one of the new crop of Conservatives. He is keen to learn quickly and is now serving on the International Development Select Committee, aware that there is a strong interest in the constituency in international development issues. (My former employer CORD is based in the constituency).

The outcome of our meeting? He would like to meet with us on a Friday when he can commit more time and indeed on a regular basis. It seems to me that this is necessary. If discussions with MPs are to be really useful they are likely to involve more than one meeting and my learning from this is to make sure that you can commit to sustained dialogue.

If readers of this blog are meeting with MPs on any public policy issue please do drop us a line or add a comment to this blog post. We want to hear about your issue and your experience with your MP.