The election has happened: you cast your vote and the results are in. As the new parliament takes to those iconic green benches, there will be a mixture of feelings across the country.
Perhaps the candidate you were backing was elected, or perhaps they weren’t. Maybe you really struggled to know how to vote, or you’re worried about what will happen next. However you’re feeling after this election, it’s important to continue engaging with MPs and other political leaders to keep them accountable and make sure they’re aware of the issues you care about.
Here are some ways to stay engaged and keep influencing the direction the country is heading in:
Whether you voted for them or not, your MP now represents you and your constituency in parliament. That’s a big job that won’t be simple. They need your prayers.
The Message paraphrase of 1 Timothy 2:1–3 says:
‘The first thing I want you to do is pray. Pray every way you know how, for everyone you know. Pray especially for rulers and their governments to rule well so we can be quietly about our business of living simply, in humble contemplation. This is the way our Saviour God wants us to live.’
Ask God to give your MP wisdom, energy and strength as this parliamentary session begins. Pray that God will stir your MP’s heart and mind for people living in poverty and for the environment. Here are some prayer points you could use to get started.
A lot of families may (understandably) choose to ban all talk of politics at the dinner table this Christmas. In our day-to-day lives, people can feel nervous about discussing potentially divisive issues. But we have the opportunity to model how to disagree well, and be enriched by each other’s differences instead of being driven apart.
- Be curious about other people’s perspectives. It is a wonderful thing that God has created all of us uniquely, in his image. We can recognise this by listening deeply and seeking to understand others. Discuss, rather than debate, and ask questions.
- Be humble. Just because someone has a different opinion to you doesn’t mean they are wrong. If you find yourself reacting out of anger or offence, it’s important to look at yourself first. What in you caused you to respond to the other person in that way? Is there something you need to give to God?
- Find common ground. The Bible teaches that we are all one in Christ Jesus. It is possible for people with radically different opinions to have a very similar motivation for those views. What are the areas where you can find unity?
For more thoughts on disagreeing well, check out our blog ‘Divided we fall’.
Send your MP a Christmas card
Why not show your MP some love this Christmas and send them a Christmas card? This could also be an opportunity to let them know what issues you care about, such as:
- Tackling global poverty. You could write that you would like to see them help protect the UK’s excellent delivery of overseas aid, which transforms lives and enables people to lift themselves out of poverty.
- Climate change and the poverty it’s causing around the world. You could ask them to call the government to deliver bold action on tackling the climate emergency, and to ensure the UK’s progress towards a zero-carbon economy. The Climate Coalition have created a downloadable Christmas card template that you could use.
Tweet your MP
Social media can be a great tool to communicate with your MP. It can also be quite a negative, discouraging place for MPs. Make your tweet stand out by encouraging your MP, congratulate them (even if you didn’t vote for them) and let them know what you are looking forward to seeing them take action on as your representative.
Visit them at a surgery
Most MPs hold weekly surgeries to give their constituents a chance to meet with them and discuss matters concerning them. Often these will be held on a Friday or at the weekend. Some MPs will hold these as drops-ins; for others, they will be by appointment only. You can find out how surgeries are run in your constituency on your MP’s website.
Before you go, research your MP and find out what issues they care about. You can do this by reading their biography on the parliamentary website or on www.theyworkforyou.com. Plan what you would like to talk about with them, and how you would like to structure the meeting. Focus on one or two main asks.
After the meeting, send a ‘thank you’ email and follow up on any actions your MP committed to take.
If you have any questions on how to keep engaging with the political process, please email our team at firstname.lastname@example.org.