Our guide to help you arrange and have an effective meeting with your MP on the Equitable Life issue.
The first step is to arrange to meet your MP. This can be in person or online. Regardless of whether you voted for them or not, your MP is there to listen to and represent their constituents. That does not mean they have to agree with you or do what you ask of them. But they should be willing to engage and hear what you have to say. Most will try to help.
The majority of MPs hold regular meetings with their constituents. These sessions are often referred to as ‘surgeries’. It is up to each MP to decide whether they hold surgeries, how many and in what location(s). They are usually held on Fridays or over the weekend after the MP has returned from Westminster. The best way to find out about your MP’s surgery times is to look on their website or call the constituency office. You can contact your MP’s office by phone or by email. If you don’t know who your MP is or how to contact them, click here.
Many MPs are willing to meet with constituents online now, for example via Zoom or MS Teams. This is also an option if you are not able to travel easily.
Inviting other Equitable victims to join you. If you would like other Equitable Life victims to join you at the meeting, get in touch with us at email@example.com and your local region coordinator will try and link you up with other local constituents willing to support you. Your region coordinator may also be able to attend themselves!
Call your MP’s office and ask to make an appointment. Remember to ask how long your appointment is likely to be so that you can plan accordingly. Let them know if you are planning to bring anyone else along to the meeting with you.
Do your research. Find out what issues your MP cares about and whether (s)he has taken an active interest in the Equitable Life scandal in the past. One place you can find this information is on this website www.theyworkforyou.com. It contains lots of information about your MP’s responsibilities in parliament and their voting record, so you can see which issues matter to them. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like help in gathering more background information on your MP.
Prepare an agenda. Plan in advance how you would like to structure your meeting. You will probably find it helpful to prepare an outline of the key points that you would like to make at the meeting. To help you prepare we have produced a Meeting Briefing available here. Also think about bringing a smartphone or camera with you to the meeting in order to take a photo of you with your MP.
1. Share your story. Personal stories are a really powerful way of engaging your MP and conveying your passion and commitment for this long-standing issue. Facts and statistics are abstract and impersonal. Sharing your story will put a human face on this scandal and get your MP emotionally involved.
Here are some pointers on what you can share with your MP:
2. Acknowledge your MP. MPs rarely hear the words ‘thank you’ from their constituents. Always thank them for supportive actions that they have taken in the past or simply thank them for making the time to meet with you.
3. Be concise. Often meetings with MPs are just 15 minutes in length. Try and keep the meeting clear and concise - don't spend too long on diversions unless they are building empathy. You also want to leave time at the end for questions and discussion.
4. Know both sides of the story. Your MP may have arguments against what you are asking for. Use the Meeting Briefing to help you counter any opposition. If you don’t know the answer or how to respond, tell your MP you will get them further information — it’s a great excuse to follow-up and build a relationship with their office.
5. Make clear requests and ask for a response. Often, the main reason Equitable Life victims have unsatisfactory meetings is that their requests were not clear and specific enough. Your MP will very likely be waiting for you to get to the point of what it is that you would like him or her to do. For example:
In addition to your specific requests, don’t be afraid to ask your MP what else they think they can do to support us.
1.Congratulate yourself. Meeting with your MP is an achievement and a really important step for engaging them in our fight for full compensation for Equitable Life policyholders.
2. Update EMAG. Send a brief summary of the meeting, including any outstanding questions and any photos, to email@example.com.
3. Send a ‘thank you’. Send a letter or email to your MP to thank them for the meeting, including a brief summary of the meeting and what the MP agreed to. If you promised to provide them with any additional information, you could include this in your message.
4. Follow up. Without follow up, your effort in scheduling a meeting and speaking powerfully about this issue could be wasted. If your MP committed to do something, set a reminder to follow this up in a month’s time in case you haven’t yet had a response.