On 17th October, the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty, CAFOD organised a Parliamentary lobby to speak up for the UK’s crucial role tackling poverty around the world. The event was focussed on constituencies where there are either new MPs, or MPs who especially need to hear their constituents’ support for UK government spending on aid. The Constituency of Bath (MP, Wera Hobhouse: Lib Dem) was one, and the constituency for Chippenham, (MP Michelle Donelan: Conservative) was another.
In the morning there were arranged activities and speakers, together with a wide range of constituents sharing their reasons why they care about development and support public spending on aid, all getting prepared to meet individual MP’s later in the afternoon. Help and support was provided for those who had not met their MP before.
“My MP for Chippenham, Michelle Donelan (Conservative), hadn’t replied to any of my phone calls and emails. However, there is a process called green carding where you report to the central lobby in the Houses of Parliament and request a meeting. She arrived within 10 minutes! She confirmed the government’s commitment to maintain the 0.7% of our GDP for the life of this Parliament. I invited her to meet the Syrian Refugees and their families at St. Patrick’s Church Hall where we teach them English, with the intention of giving her the opportunity to value the UK contribution and to appreciate and come to understand the experiences of the refugees. It was also a good opportunity to ensure she knows and supports the work of CAFOD. Our centre is only 50 yards from her constituency office. I have been asked to drop possible dates and times at her office which I did. I also spoke with Jeremy Corbyn at Portcullis House where other CAFOD and other aid agency volunteers were meeting their MPs. He was happy to support our efforts and be photographed with the volunteers.
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