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Meeting your politicians

People shaking hands

Writing to your MP is a good first step, but an even better way to get your message across is to meet your MP in person.

There are a number of ways to do this, depending on how ambitious you want to be, the support you already have, the size of your team, and what you want to achieve. You could:

  • Meet them individually
  • Invite them to a group meeting or coffee morning
  • Set up a public meeting for people to come along and put questions to your MP to generate local interest and press attention.

Asking for a meeting

Ask for a meeting in writing and follow-up with a phone call if you can. Having that personal contact with your MP or their office staff can make the difference and will help secure a meeting.

If you don’t have your MP's contact details, you can find them at www.parliament.uk, or contact us on action@arthritisresearchuk.org

If you don't hear from your MP straight away, don’t give up! Keep politely chasing them for a meeting. MPs are elected to represent local residents and it's your right to see them. They expect to be chased if they don’t respond to an email.

Top tips for meeting your MP

Here are some top tips for meeting your MP and getting across information about your campaign.

Don’t forget to let us know via action@arthritisresearch.org.uk if you get a meeting with your MP – we can provide advice and support.

Prepare

Make sure your MP (or their office) is aware of the agenda and purpose of the meeting in advance. Take a copy of our Prevent, Transform, Cure manifesto (PDF 2.9MB) to give to your MP. Contact our campaign team on action@arthritisresearchuk.org if you'd like a printed copy.

Anticipate what your MP might say and what they might ask you. You can check what MPs have previously said on any subject by using resources like www.theyworkforyou.com A search for 'arthritis' or 'musculoskeletal' is usually a good place to start.Tip: check what MPs have previously said on any subject by using www.theyworkforyou.com

Be ready with what you want your MP to do – as well as asking them to become an Arthritis Champion, are they willing to do more for your campaign? See What can your MP do? for suggestions.

They might be able to suggest other people it might be worth meeting, or some press ideas that might help further your campaign.

Tell your story

People often buy into people as much as they do an issue. Think about your personal experience of living with arthritis – what impact does it have on your life? How does it affect your family and friends?Tip: Be comprehensive, but don’t overload your campaign pitch with too much detail or make it too emotive.

Back it up with the evidence you’ve found (for example local statistics or expert opinion). Try to make it relevant to your area to make sure your MP understands the impact on local people living with arthritis.

Treat it as a normal conversation

Give your MP the chance to talk and respond to your points. Their input might be useful and they may have some useful advice to help progress your campaign.

It's vital to stay polite – don’t be hostile, stay positive, say thank you. Most people, MPs included, will be more likely to be supportive if you're polite and positive.

Take photos

It’s a good plan to take a photo at the meeting of the attendees, including you with your MP, for use on websites/press. You can even arrange a photo session, for example, with campaigners and your supportive MP at somewhere connected with your campaign. Make sure you check the MP is happy to be in a photo!

We’d love to see your campaigning photos! Send them over to the team at action@arthritisresearchuk.org

Follow up

After your meeting, email all attendees to thank them for coming. Include action points from the meeting that people committed too. This helps to maintain momentum and keep things on track.

For more information, go to www.arthritisresearchuk.org.
Arthritis Research UK fund research into the cause, treatment and cure of arthritis. You can support Arthritis Research UK by volunteering, donating or visiting our shops.