Write to your MP

Although we are petitioning the Prime Minister to reject all forms of term extension, it’s important that we also talk to MPs and engage them in the debate. If you have a spare fifteen minutes, why not write to your MP? If you’ve never written to your MP before, or don’t know who he or she is, don’t worry - we have some tips and tricks to help you.

Finding your MP
Don’t know who your local MP is? No problem - just visit Write To Them, type your postcode into the box, and WriteToThem will give you details of all your governmental representatives, from local to European level. Click on the name of your MP to write to them.

Composing your letter
You might be wondering why we aren’t giving you a form letter that you can cut and paste. Write To Them has a longer explanation of why ‘identikit’ letters don’t work but in short, MPs just ignore them. When they see the same letter over and over again, they assume not that many people feel strongly about the issue, but that one person is spamming them.

This means that it’s really important that you write your own letter, using your own words and, if at all possible, describing your own experiences.

The Open Rights Group wiki has a great guide to writing to your MP, but here we’ll share a few tips, and then give you some ideas about what to include.

Tips for letter writing:

  • MPs are busy, so keep your letter short and to the point. Just a few paragraphs will be enough.
  • Be polite and courteous. Getting annoyed or rude will achieve nothing, and may even be counterproductive.
  • Remember to include your full name and address.
  • Use bullet points to highlight your main concerns.
  • Include supporting evidence, but 1 or 2 key points clearly explained is better than 5 points poorly explained.
  • Make it clear what you are asking the MP to do.
  • Only write to your own MP.

Things to include:

  • A description of the problem: e.g. you are worried that the music industry’s lobbying may result in an extension on the term of copyright protection afforded to sound recordings.
  • What you want them to do: ask the Prime Minister, Tony Blair MP and the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, Tessa Jowell MP, to publicly reject calls for term extension.
  • Your personal testimony: how term extension for sound recordings would harm your interests.
  • Further evidence: key points as to why term extension is bad; links to evidence online.
  • Ask for a personal reply and say you are interested in your MPs own opinions.

And don’t forget, if your MP replies, please let us know what he or she said.