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Public Issues

Working in politics

Quakers, at all times, seek to balance active campaigning with constructive dialogue with government and MPs, in the United Kingdom. This dialogue takes the form of responses to government consultations, submissions to government and Select Committees and meetings with MPs.

If you or your Meeting contact with your MP, another elected representative or a member of the House of Lords, please do email Jessica Metheringham, parliamentary engagement officer, at jessicam@quaker.org.uk.

You could also download our guide on writing to elected representatives.

Current advocacy work

Welfare Reform and Work Bill

Take action on the Wefare Reform and Work Bill by writing to your MP. Read our briefing online.

Bills before Parliament

There are a number of Bills which Quakers may be interested in following. 

In Westminster:

  • Assisted Dying Bill (Lords)
    ​A Private Member's Bill in the House of Lords. Second Reading has not yet been scheduled 
  • Assisted Dying Bill (Commons)
    ​A Private Member's Bill in the House of Commons. Second Reading is expected to be on 11 September
  • Energy Bill
    Relating to the oil and gas industry, as well as wind power. It started in the House of Lords and the next stage is Second Reading (Lords) on 22 July
  • Gambling (B2 Machines) Bill
    ​A Private Member's Bill in the House of Lords.  Second Reading has not yet been scheduled 
  • Housing Bill
    ​Announced in the Queen's Speech, but yet to be laid
  • Immigration Bill
    ​Announced in the Queen's Speech, but yet to be laid
  • Policing & Criminal Justice Bill
    ​Announced in the Queen's Speech, but yet to be laid
  • Scotland Bill
    ​It started in the House of Commons. Committee Stage finished on 6 July and the next stage will be Report and Third Reading (date TBC, but September at the earliest)
  • Welfare Reform & Work Bill
    ​Relating to social mobility, welfare, benefits cap, social housing rent. It started in the House of Commons and the Second Reading (Commons) was on 20 July. It will now go to Committee. Read our briefing about the Welfare Reform and Work Bill

If you would like to know more about any of these Bills then please do contact jessicam@quaker.org.uk

Party political conferences

We hope to attend the Liberal Democrat, Green, Labour, Conservative and SNP political party conferences in 2015. These are:

  • Liberal Democrat: 19-23 September, Bournemouth
  • Green: 25-28 September, Bournemouth
  • Labour: 27-30 September, Brighton
  • Conservative: 4-7 October, Manchester
  • SNP: 17-19 October, Aberdeen

If you are a member of a political party and hope to be attending any of these conferences then please do let me know at jessicam@quaker.org.uk

Previous advocacy work

2015 general election

The general election took place on 7 May 2015. To find out more about what Quakers in Britain did over the election, visit www.quakervote.org.uk

Detention

On 1 October 2014 the Quaker Ayslum and Refugees Network made a submission to an All Party Parliamentary Group inquiry on detention. Read the submission made by QARN, which was fully endorsed by Quakers in Britain, or find out more about the inquiryThe Detention Forum, QARN and others sent a letter to all the members of the inquiry panel to express their concern.

As a result the chair of the panel, Sarah Teather MP, has submitted a written question asking Theresa May to halt the detention expansion. She also asked James Brokenshire MP, the minister responsible, if he could come to the inquiry session to give evidence. Panel member Julian Huppert MP put questions to James Brokenshire during the Home Affairs Select Committee session on the same day, urging him to engage with the detention inquiry panel.

You can help by repeating the call for a moratorium. Please visit the Detention Forum website for full details.

Debate on Israel and Palestine

On 13 October a debate was held in the House of Commons. Brought by Caroline Lucas MP, Bob Russell MP, Jeremy Corbyn MP, Graham Morris MP and Crispin Blunt MP, it calls for a Palestinian state to be recognised alongside the state of Israel. QA statement from Quakers in Britain have made a statement is available here on the Palestinian Statehood page.

Opportunity for action: Replacement for Trident nuclear weapons

On 1 July an independent and cross-part Trident Commission published a report. It stated that it could not see a credible alternative to Trident. Quakers in Britain strongly disagree, and made comments about Trident in this press release.

Meetings and individuals are encouraged to meet with their constituency MP to voice their concern over a measure that would encourage proliferation and waste billions of pounds at a time of austerity. A Quaker briefing including a template letter is available here.

The Joint Public Issues Team of Baptists, Methodists and the URC produced this excellent and still-relevant briefing on Trident.

Use this material:

  • To write to your MP, MEP, MSP/AM or parliamentary candiate regarding Trident
  • In dialogue with councillors, parliamentary candiates, and any community groups or other faith groups discussing Trident
  • To encourage discussion in your Local or Area Meeting
  • For reference and discussion in local and national meetings (including public meetings hosted by other organisations)
  • For context in work with local media and on-line debate

Legislation: Lobbying Act

Faith groups outside Parliament to protest against the Lobbying BillQuakers in Britain have been actively involved with the Transparency of Lobbying, Non-Party Campaigning and Trade Union Administration Bill (now an Act), and are one of many organisations supporting the Civil Society Commission chaired by Richard Harries. The picture to the right shows faith representatives, including Quakers, outside Parliament to protest about the Lobbying Bill.

The Bill has passed through both Houses of Parliament and is now an Act. It was disappointing that an amendment to exclude staff costs was rejected in the last stages of the Bill. A number of organisations including Quakers in Britain will be seeking a meeting with the Electoral Commission to clarify what the impact of this new legislation will be. The Electoral Commission is expected to publish guidance in summer 2014.

In September 2013 thirteen faith-based organisations signed a letter asking the Government to delay passage of the Bill. In November 2013 Quakers in Britain provided a briefing to Peers in the House of Lords. Although the timescales have moved since this briefing was written, the key points are still relevant. On 22 January 2014 the House of Commons disagreed to Amendment 108 regarding the exclusion of staff costs, and we produced a template letter for writing to MPs for Friends.

If you would like to know more about implications of the new legislation, you could read the Civil Society Commission's useful analysis of the Act. Quakers in Britain remains one of the key organisations behind the Civil Society Commission and over the next few months will continue to work with them to understand the Lobbying Act.

Use this material:

  • To write to your MP regarding the Lobbying Bill/Act
  • In dialogue with MPs and Peers discussing the impact of the Lobbying Bill/Act
  • For reference and discussion in local and national meetings (including public meetings hosted by other organisations)
  • For context in work with local media and on-line debate

Political guides

Elections and hustings: a guide for meetings and individuals

Writing to your elected representatives

Some useful governmental and political website links