How to influence your MP

MPs are very busy people. So when you want to tell them about a vital issue like water and sanitation, how do you get their attention?

6 Aug 2013

This June, WaterAid supporters of all ages and walks of life spent a day learning how to do just that – and it worked! One enthusiastic supporter quickly had the undivided attention of the UK Deputy Prime Minister.

House call
'How to influence your MP' was attended by 16 of our passionate supporters, kicking off with a morning spent at Portcullis House, next door to the Houses of Parliament.

Here supporters met with a special adviser to the Shadow International Development Team, and with Naomi Long MP of the Alliance party, a passionate parliamentary advocate for water and sanitation development. Giving key insight behind the scenes at Westminster, they each explained why supporter actions are so important and imparted some handy hints on how to get a busy MP's attention.

From AM to Deputy PM
For the afternoon session the group headed back to WaterAid's Head Office in Vauxhall, where members of our Policy and Campaigns Team showed them how to put what they'd learned into practice.

Just weeks later, one attendee has been so moved to act he has already had a one-to-one meeting with his local MP – Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg!

'I was really fortunate with timing,' said Dave Gardiner, a volunteer WaterAid speaker and member of our Sheffield local group, 'But it just underlines how good WaterAid's 'How to influence your MP' course is – it certainly inspired me!'

Thank you Dave, and everyone else who took part!

Supporter feedback
'Thanks so much for an incredibly good day. I found every part of it really helpful, providing useful information, an insight into what more we can do (in particular with MPs) and a great boost in confidence!' – Marie

'I found today very, very interesting; it broke down the barriers in my mind about approaching MPs. The event was very professionally set up, very informative and I’d like to thank the whole team for doing that. Keep up the good work!' – Ashok

'I just want to say how fantastic today has been. I thought I knew something about parliament and MPs but I didn't know nearly as much as I thought. I really feel enlightened – and it’s been really entertaining as well.' – Rosemary