MP surgery

Firstly, make sure you know who your MP is and only contact that person.

Before you go to an MP's surgery do send them a letter first. See Letter writing

Arranging the meeting

You can find out when your MP has their surgery by checking their web site, by telephoning their office, or it may be in your local paper. You often (but not always) need to book an appointment to meet your MP.

If you are going to go to an MP's surgery do your home work. If possible practice with a non technical friend so you have experienced what it is like, and the kinds of questions a non technical person will ask. It may help to take a sheet of paper with a small number of bullet points on it.

At the meeting

Keep discussions simple, and always be polite, even if your MP does not agree with your point.

Remember that attending surgeries are a powerful way of delivering a message to your MP, and can have a lot of impact.

If you have written to your MP before you go to see him/her, do not be surprised if he/she has a copy of your letter and a copy of any document you pointed to in your letter.

Don't exaggerate, be insulting, or arrogant or invent conspiracies. Don't make threats "if you don't do what I say I won’t vote for you". MPs, regardless of the size of their majority are not swayed by this one, and take it as a challenge. If threats from the people with the majority view worked, MPs would have banned abortion and reintroduced hanging years ago. They will often vote against the general consensus, and it's your job to persuade, not to threaten.

Be specific. Don't just have a general moan. Detail exactly why you are unhappy with a particular aspect of a Bill. Show you know your subject, but if you don't know some thing say you don't know, do not make up an answer. Also do not wander off the subject to take in other aspects of government policy you are unhappy with.

Asking the MP to write to the appropriate Government Minister on your behalf, asking what is being done, or will be done to address your concerns, also your MP can ask parliamentary questions to get information from the Government, or to press for change on an issue.

After the meeting

After you have finished the meeting its a good idea to jot some notes down about what was said while its still fresh in your mind. If you can, please send a email to the ORG mailing list telling us about the meeting, what worked, what did not and how you think the meeting went.

Follow-up with your MP with a handwritten letter simply restating your thanks for the meeting, the hope that you will be able to contact the individual on future issues of interest leaving the door of communication open.

See also

London MP Surgeries and individual MP pages