Skip to Content

Public Issues

Related pages: Parliament

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.

Detention

On 1 October 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 inquiry.

The inquiry has not yet completed its work and yet the government is going ahead with proposals to expand the detention estate. The 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, at least until the inquiry is over. 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.

Party political conferences

Are you a member of a political party?

We attended the Green, Labour, Conservative and Liberal Democrat political party conferences. These were:

  • Green: 5-8 September, Birmingham
  • Labour: 21-23 September, Manchester
  • Conservative: 29-30 September, Birmingham
  • Liberal Democrat: 6-7 October, Glasgow

We also held a fringe event at the Labour Party Conference. Called a moral 21st century nation: shared visions”, it asked four people to speak about their wider vision for the UK at home and on the world stage. What could we do, or should we do, or must we do to become the nation we want to be? What is holding us back? Our speakers included Angela Eagle MP and Bishop of Manchester David Walker.

Update on parliamentary and political work

Download a monthly parliamentary update on a few of the issues covered. Not everything covered in the month makes it on to the update, and new PDFs will be uploaded at the end of each month.

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

Briefings

Briefings for Quakers giving background on political issues

Submissions

Submissions to parliamentary committees and commissions

Articles

Articles from The Friend, giving more background on the issues

Some useful governmental and political website links