Wednesday, February 23, 2005

Tea in Westminster

Last Monday the prayer and campaign network SPEAK launched its creative petition the ‘Big Dress’. For four years SPEAK have been collected 15cm2 squares of fabric with people’s pictures, prayers and words calling for trade justice. These have been sown together to make a huge, tent like patchwork dress which was erected in Berkley Square, London. The Bishop of Barking led a fantastic, moving and visual service of repentance for the UK’s and our own individual failure to pursue justice in world trade. This was followed by a mass lobby of MPs at Westminster calling for accountability of UK based multi-national companies.

I was amazed by how easy it is to lobby your MP. We queued up for ten minutes at St.Stephen's entrance, before bypassing the streams of tourists and making our way to the central lobby. There you fill in a short green card explaining why you want to speak to your MP who is then legally obliged to speak to you if the House is in session, he or she is there and not speaking in a debate. You don’t have to make an appointment (although this helps) – you can just turn up. Although my MP wasn’t able to speak to me his researcher came down almost immediately and spoke with us and agreed that we should set up a meeting with the MP in our constituency. Others spent between five minutes and an hour with their MP, one group getting a cup of tea in the House of Lords!

So next time you’re in London pencil in a discussion with your MP on an issue of your choice over a cup of tea in the palace of Westminster!

To find out who your MP is visit

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