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Staying engaged after the election

We should continue to make the voices of local communities heard in Westminster now the election is over, says Jessica Metheringham.

Quakers outside Parliament. Photo: Mike Pinches for Quakers in Britain
Quakers outside Parliament. Photo: Mike Pinches for Quakers in Britain

As Quakers, we have a long history of speaking truth to power and getting involved in politics. The election offered us a great opportunity to talk about important issues. Those debates shouldn't end now that it's over.

We have a role and a voice as responsible citizens. Politics isn't just about what happens in Westminster – it's about how we and our neighbours take action on the issues that matter to us.

If we want to keep the conversation going, then it's important to keep up connections with both our MPs and our local community. We need to support our elected representatives and challenge them in love.

We also need to engage with other people locally and build the foundations of a hospitable community. Slow and steady political engagement takes time, but you'll know if it has been a success if you meet your MP again in the next six months or you create a new relationship with a group in your local community.

Here are some ideas for actions you can take:

Speak to your representatives

Ask your MP what they think about nuclear weapons, forced migration, climate justice, economic inequality or housing. Write as individuals, or jointly as a meeting. You could also contact local councillors or other representatives (such as AMs in Wales or MSPs in Scotland).

Talk with your neighbours

Are there other faith groups in your area who you have little or no contact with? Now is a good time to reach out. Or perhaps you already have a really good partnership with another group, which you could use to engage with others. Hold an open afternoon at the meeting house and invite your neighbours for tea and cake.

You could also offer a space for others to think. Perhaps the wider community feels divided or disappointed about either the EU referendum or the election – a space to share views would be really useful. At Yearly Meeting Gathering there'll be a session called 'Reflection and Reconciliation', which might give you some ideas on how to do that locally.

Join a larger campaign

There are lots of campaigns you can get involved with over the next few months. Here's a few key dates to look out for:

Keep yourself informed about what's happening in Parliament

The Queen's Speech last week set out the priorities of the government. Legislation needed for leaving the European Union took centre stage but there are several other bills of note.

The Nuclear Safeguarding Bill will discuss both nuclear weapons and nuclear power plants. The Immigration Bill will set out new immigration rules which our forced migration programme will work on.

The Tenants Rights Bill will be of particular interest to Quakers involved with the Ethical Landlords Association and the Quaker Housing Trust. And there may also be opportunities to debate fracking in the Agriculture Bill. We'll be sure to keep an eye on upcoming discussions and consultations on extremism and security as well.

Useful links:

Download our post-election briefing for some more ideas of what you can do.

Listen to our post-election podcast.

Please fill in our short survey to let us know about what you do politically. It is invaluable for us to build up a picture of political engagement across Britain.

Find more examples of what others have done in the our stories section.

Download resources from our Toolkit for Action.