23rd November: Lobby of Parliament on Palestinian Rights
We need your help to tell Parliament to help end the siege on Gaza, to act now on Jerusalem and to stop arming Israel.
As the pressure grows on Israel to end its illegal occupation and more and more of us become aware of the injustices against Palestinians denied their basic rights, so Israel’s government grows more repressive. The international community, with the UK playing a leading role, needs to act now.
Please help campaign for Palestine by lobbying your MP as part of our Annual Lobby of Parliament on Wednesday 23rd November from 2-6pm.
What you can do
1. Make sure that you can travel that day to meet your MP in Parliament
2. Write to your MP and let them know you want to meet them on Wednesday 23rd November, and ask them for an appointment. To use our e-tool click here. To find out more about how to lobby your MP read this briefing below or download it here.
3. Book your travel and accommodation
4. Let us know you have asked your MP for a meeting
5. Contact us to get involved:
Email us or call 020 7700 6192
We are asking all groups supporting the lobby to sign up to these Lobby Principles:
Statement of principles for the lobby 2011
The lobby is to advocate for Palestinians’ civil, political and human rights, in accordance with international law. The aim of the lobby is to build support amongst MPs for Palestinians, including ending the siege on Gaza and for an end to the arms trade with Israel.
The principles of the lobby are to support:
• The legally enshrined right of self-determination
• The British Government’s implementation of international law – including supporting the withdrawal of the Israeli state from the occupied Palestinian territories
• The rights of the Palestinian people to demonstrate and to seek international support for justice, including demonstrations and BDS
PSC Briefing for lobbying your MP
Get involved – lobby your local MP
Join our national lobby of Parliament on Palestine. Join us on Wednesday 23rd November 2011 from 2pm to 6pm at the House of Commons.
Mass lobbies offer the best opportunity for people to press their MPs on a specific issue. MPs see it as an important part of their job to take up their constituents’ concerns by writing to Ministers or by asking question in Parliament.
This is a chance to meet your MP face-to-face and put forward your views on how the UK Government can help alleviate the suffering of the Palestinian people and bring a lasting peace for both Israelis and Palestinians.
By demonstrating to MPs the strength of feeling that exists over the issue you will help organisations such as ours in daily work.
If – for any reason – you can’t join us on the day in Westminster please get in touch (firstname.lastname@example.org), and we will let you know other ways you can help.
How to meet your MP
It is important to meet your own MP. MPs can only demand a reply from a minister (and will only feel obliged to take action) on behalf of a registered voter in their constituency (or someone who has just moved in). If you don’t live in their constituency, they can only pass it on to your own MP.
Find out who your MP is
Find out who your local MP is via the parliamentary website or by telephoning the House of Commons Information Office on 020 7219 4272. You will need to provide your postcode to find out which constituency you live in. Join up with other people who have the same MP if you can. Branches going to meet their MPs are an excellent idea – but make sure they live within the constituencies boundaries.
Contact your MP
Contact your MP as soon as possible. Almost all MPs now have websites with their contact details, but you can simply call 020 7219 3000 and ask to speak to your MP’s office. Explain briefly to their staff why you are requesting a meeting.
Let us know
Please let PSC know (email or phone 020 7700 6192) when you have an appointment with your MP so we can coordinate with other people in the same constituency. Also, let us know in the unlikely event that your MP refuses to meet you.
We will then be able to provide you with a guide for the day, and briefing materials – as well as putting you in touch with others with the same MP.
Before the day
Find out how much your MP might know about Palestine and how sympathetic they are likely to be.
You can check if they sign EDMs – Early Day Motions – (and if they have signed any on the subject
of Palestine/Israel by searching the EDM database.
If they never sign EDMs it is likely they either can’t (if they are a Minister, for example) or won’t. In these cases, it isn’t worth asking them to sign EDMs and you are better to focus on asking them to write to Ministers or ask Parliamentary Questions, where relevant.
You can also check Hansard by MP – if you check by subject, it is worth checking Middle East, Palestinian, Israel and Gaza under subject – this will let you know if they take an interest in the subject.
Googling their name with Palestinian/Israel etc can sometimes uncover interesting facts, but can also be fruitless – so do try the other searches too.
It is worth meeting your MP whether they are usually helpful or hostile. If they are hostile, your job is to win them round. If they are helpful, it will strengthen their resolve and give them better arguments to use with ministers if they know there is strong support in their constituency. It is also worth meeting them even if you’ve lobbied them before to discuss what has happened since your last meeting and to agree new actions.
On the day
Aim to arrive at the House of Commons an hour in advance if you can. This will give you time to come through the visitors’ entrance to the House of Commons, sign in for the lobby and receive a verbal briefing where you can ask any questions that you want. It also gives enough time for you to talk to anyone else meeting your MP for you to agree who is going to ask what.
The Palestine in Parliament lobby team will be in room W4 – just off Westminster Hall. There will be stewards and policemen on hand to help you find us – so it won’t be a problem! We will also have a feedback form, briefings and some helpful advice.
When you go for your meeting with your MP it is best if you have agreed to meet in the Central Lobby at a specific time. When they arrive, MPs ask the attendant to tannoy your name on the loudspeaker system. If your MP hasn’t given you a specific time, ask the attendant to let your MP know you are in Central Lobby.
It can help at this stage if you have a phone number for an MP’s office in the Commons (starting 020 7219) or e-mail or mobile number so you can contact them to let them know you have arrived.
How to lobby effectively
Explain why you are concerned about Palestine – have two or three key facts ready (see the ‘key facts’ briefing for information). Your point comes across more effectively if you know what you are going to say. Always make sure that everything you say is factually correct and that you can back it up.
If you are at all concerned about making all the right points, have some written materials ready to hand over – one of the PSC briefing papers would serve well.
Be as constructive as possible and remain calm and composed. MPs regularly say to us that in the past constituents have used the lobbies as arena to vent anger about what Israel is doing. Encourage them to be on your side, not adversaries.
Decide in advance what action you will ask your MP to take.
We will be providing key issue briefings and a questionnaire – which we will send in advance and you can also pick from us.
After the lobby
Follow up your ‘lobby’ and feedback to PSC
Send your MP a written thank you letter and follow up on commitments made by you and the MP.