Related pages: Parliament
Working with the Westminster Parliament
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.
All submissions and responses are listed below, and also included are briefings for Quakers on matters of topical interest.
Opportunity for action: Replacement for Trident nuclear weapons
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.
Statement on Equality - Meeting for Sufferings
Meeting for Sufferings asked for an ‘equality statement’ in its October 2011 meeting. The statement highlights our testimony to equality in the current economic context and reflects the concern and anger of Quakers in Britain at the impact of government cuts. If you are in contact with your Member of Parliament, you and your meeting can use the statement as an anchor for discussion with her or him. The statement can also be used to write to the leaders of local authorities and councillors asking them to audit the impact of the cuts on equality and local services. Any work with constituency MPs and local authorities might form the basis of local media releases.
Use of the statement:
- Dialogue with constituency MPs in discussing the impact of economic cuts
- Dialogue with your local authority in asking them to measure changes in levels of poverty
- Dialogue with local authority candidates in the upcoming local elections
- For reference and discussion in meetings and as an affirmation of our shared values
- For ecumenical dialogue
- For context in work with local media
- For discussion in further education college and on-line debate
- Please bring evidence of the local impact of the cuts to the workshop on equality at Britain Yearly Meeting
Opportunity for action: Income Inequality EDM
A group of Cross Party MPs tabled an Early Day Motion - EDM 1775 - in May 2011 supporting the work of the Equality Trust [offsite link].
Early Day Motions are a type of parliamentary petition submitted for debate in the House of Commons. Very few are debated, but they enable MPs to register their views publicly and to influence the political agenda.
The sponsoring MPs are Caroline Lucas (Green Party), Roberta Blackman-Woods (Labour Party), Peter Bottomley (Conservative Party), Tom Brake (Liberal Democrats), Jeremy Corbyn (Labour Party) and Bob Russell (Liberal Democrats).
Early Day Motion 1775 states:
"That this House notes the findings of The Equality Trust that societies with smaller income differences between rich and poor have fewer health and social problems, such as teenage births, violence, mental illness and drug abuse; further notes that such societies have higher levels of trust between citizens and more social mobility; and therefore encourages the Government to promote policies that reduce income inequality."
By visiting the Parliamentary EDM database [offsite link] you can check whether your constituency MP supported EDM 1775. If they have not you could encourage them to support the Motion. Writing to your MP about this EDM could also be an effective way of engaging with them on the wider concern regarding the concern of Meeting for Sufferings regarding equality and the cuts.
Submission to Department of Energy and Climate Change
Quakers in Britain have made a joint ecumenical submission, with the Methodists, Baptists and URC, to the Department of Energy and Climate Change’s consultation on the rates of Feed in Tariffs (FITs) to be paid for small scale low carbon electricity generation. Under the Climate Change Act 2008, the UK has a target of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 34% by 2020 compared with 1990 levels. The level of subsidy paid for FITs is a litmus test of the Government’s commitment to reducing these emissions. Our joint response makes the case that the disproportionate scale of proposed reductions threatens to disrupt an industry which is at an early stage of development in the UK.
On December 21st 2011, a High Court Judge, Mr Justice Mitting, ruled that these proposed reductions were unlawful as they pre-empted the close date for this consultation.
Still Human, Still Here
Still Human, Still Here is a coalition of 30 organisations that are campaigning to end the destitution of refused asylum seekers in the UK. The coalition believes that the current system is inhumane, expensive and ineffective. It also negatively impacts on other areas of policy such as building community cohesion and challenging social exclusion. QPSW has recently joined the coalition as a partner in its work of seeking to build a more compassionate asylum system.
Briefings for Quakers giving background on current political issues
The latest submissions to parliamentary committees and commissions
Recently published articles from The Friend, giving more background on the issues.