How to Write a Letter to your MP and Why it Matters

It is easy to click and sign a petition. MPs now know that well over 210,000 people have done exactly that, unfortunately without further information they are free to picture why (and then ignore it). They might imagine 210,000 skunk addled lunatics wildly clicking around on the internet, heavily entrenched in comment section warfare. They might imagine medical patients, they might imagine normal people who may or may not use cannabis raising accurate concerns about prohibition, they might imagine any number of other things but only direct communication tells them exactly why you have signed that petition, that you are a real person, you live in their constituency and therefore why they should care.

They also don’t necessarily know that the 210K who did click and sign are just the tip of the iceberg.

Writing a letter to your MP is not a pain. It is worthwhile, and it humanises your action, for each letter the MP receives they know a real human has bothered to reach out to them.

I am going to quickly talk about fear, namely fear about using your real details. I have written a letter to my MP using my own details several times, the first time I did I was worried about what I was doing, that I was going to get in trouble for writing a letter, that it would be used as grounds to raid me even though I was not admitting to anything. I have since also emailed my MP, in each case I have used my real name and (before when writing a physical letter) my address in order to receive a written response. Sometimes I have been quite explicit about my medical use, sometimes I have been speaking more generally about prohibition and why I think it is wrong. My door has not come off. I have seen a few people online talk about using false details when signing the petition or contacting their MP. If the content of your letter is honest, own it. We are not the bad guys and we are on the right side of history. It is of course optional, it is more important to write the letter in the first place.

It is much easier though to email your MP than write to them physically so here are the emails for Swansea East and West and some MPs from the surrounding area:

Geraint Davies, Swansea West, geraint.davies.mp@parliament.uk

Byron Davies, Gower, byron.davies.mp@parliament.uk

Carolyn Harris, Swansea East, carolyn.harris.mp@parliament.uk

Stephen Kinnock, Aberavon, stephen.kinnock.mp@parliament.uk

Christina Rees, Neath, christina.rees.mp@parliament.uk

Nia Griffith, Llanelli, nia.griffith.mp@parliament.uk

Jonathan Edwards, Carmarthen East and Dinefwr, jonathan.edwards.mp@parliament.uk

Simon Hart, Carmarthen West and Dinefwr, simon.hart.mp@parliament.uk

http://www.parliament.uk/get-involved/contact-your-mp/contacting-your-mp/ is a useful link for finding other ways to contact your MP such as Twitter. Remember you do not have to identify yourself as a cannabis user or medicinal patient unless you want to. There is plenty of room to be angry about these laws from all sorts of directions not least common sense.

So let us begin, there are a few consistent rules about letter writing but ultimately the main thing about any letter you write to your MP is that it must be personal and clearly from you, it must contain your reasons to feed into the upcoming debate matter far more than it must observe letter writing conventions. Be clear, be concise, be passionate and honest.

Be polite, the MPs are not the enemy here any more than anyone else is, sometimes they will already be happy to support you, sometimes they need to be convinced of the evidence like everyone else –and ultimately they represent you, get them on side! Also, be original, copy pasted letters are apparently ignored, use the one below as a starting model if you want or as inspiration for your own! There are suggestions for topics to expand upon half way down.

Sample letter:

Dear ____________

In the wake of the 200000+ petition on the government's own e-petition website I strongly urge you to consider supporting and attending the debate regarding the legal status of cannabis (both recreational and medicinal) to be held in parliament on October 12th.

The world is changing and from Israel to the US to Uruguay countries are dramatically altering their stances on drug policy. Closer to our own borders, Spain, Portugal and other parts of Europe are exercising restraint in enforcement and approaching the issue with tact, tolerance and an overarching concern for health.

My medical story ……………..

The medical benefits I have seen in others…………

My fears about inaccurate drug education for children ……………….

The benefits to the economy …………..

The wasted money spent on prohibition …………

The bad information in the media ………………

Personal freedom……………..

Please attend the debate on 12th October, this really matters to me and to many, many thousands of people across the country. If you have any questions for me prior to that, I would be happy to speak to you further.

Best wishes,

Your name here

Read it through, double check it, spell check it, send it. Then when you hear a friend talking about the petition or the issue in a wider sense, ask them if they have written to their MP, ask them why they have not.

Finally, don’t stop writing. Write to your MP after the debate as well and thank them for going (if they go), scold them if they don’t go. When a by-election comes up in your area, write to all the candidates if you can. If you are able to go and meet your candidates and speak with them then that is amazing, not everyone can, but everyone definitely can write a letter and make their message heard.

One letter does make a difference, MPs raise the concerns of individual constituents all the time. If there are many of us writing to them, the message becomes harder and harder to ignore as it stops being a government problem because of a petition and instead becomes first a local matter and then a national matter as MPs across party lines are beset by letters from their constituents.

Set yourself a date, get it done.

Happy writing.

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