How your MP can become a plastics legislation champion
So your MP has said that they are supportive of the Plastic Pollution Action Plan, or perhaps they’ve met with you and posed with the A2 prop.
This is great news and the first (very big) step towards them championing plastics legislation in Parliament.
Here’s some pointers to make sure that your MP’s involvement doesn’t end there, and they go on to use their position to push for the pledges in the Action Plan to become law.
Remember, it’s a two-way relationship and your MP will be just as keen as you are to build links in the community. And if they’re supportive of plastic pollution as an issue, they’ll very likely be interested in deepening their relationship with you.
*Top tip* - keep your MP engaged
Keeping in contact with your MP about plastics is vital, and their pledge of support can be taken as an open door to keep in correspondence with them on the issue. This really helps to keep them engaged and build your relationship with them.
If you have an event or meeting coming up on plastics, invite them along. Tell them about your campaign and the other things you’re doing in the community. Above all, just keep talking to them so that the issue (and your group) stay high up on their agenda.
How to deepen your MP’s commitment – a step-by-step guide.
Straight after the meeting - If you have a picture of your MP with the prop, tweet it or post it on Facebook
Later that day or the following day - Send a thank you email to your MP, reaffirming their support and asking them to retweet or share the picture
A week later – thank them again in an email, especially if they’ve retweeted you, and ask them to write a blog post on their local constituency website. If you have an event coming up such as a film screening of A Plastic Ocean, invite them along.
Over the next few weeks – you might want to think about organising a plastic-themed event, like a meeting or film screening with the MP as the keynote speaker. Find out more about screening A Plastic Ocean on our action guide. This is a great way to deepen your relationship with your MP (it also benefits them it strengthens their connections in the community and gets them seen out and about doing positive things).
*Top tip* - even if your MP can’t attend your event, it’s still really worthwhile inviting them as it keeps the issue and your group front and centre of their minds.
If you’re not able to organise anything, but would like to meet your MP again, you could go along to an event they’re attending, and say hello. If they’re speaking at something, you could ask a friendly question related to plastics and thank them publicly for being supportive.
What else can you do?
As your relationship with your MP on the issue builds, you can ask them to do more to support plastics legislation in Parliament. This is what will really make a difference as it will start to put pressure on the government to get things moving.
Ask your MP to ask a question in Parliament. There are lots of opportunities for MPs to ask questions in debates and Ministers’ question sessions. They might be up for asking one of their own questions, but you can also ask them to read out a question on your behalf.
Ask your MP to join a debate in Parliament. There are likely to be debates on plastics in the House of Commons in the coming weeks. We’ll aim to give you a heads up about them as soon as we learn of them. You can then ask your MP to go along and ask a question to the Minister. If your MP is making a speech during a debate, don’t be shy about asking them to mention the Action Plan and the points within it.
Ask your MP to write a letter to Michael Gove, the Environment Minister, highlighting the commitments in the Action Plan and asking him how the government is going to address them. They could also ask Mr Gove to ensure that the commitments are adopted into the Environment Bill.
Tell your MP about local issues. If local issues about plastic or waste in your community are brought to your attention, it doesn’t hurt to drop your MP an email to keep them updated. Maybe they could write to the Environment Minister about them and link them back to the Action Plan.
There are lots more things you can do to help build your relationship and get your MP to champion the Action Plan. The most important thing is to keep talking to them.
Please get in touch with firstname.lastname@example.org if you need any further support.
Good luck, and thank you!