Public lobby of MPs leads to success

Birmingham residents have lobbied all of Birmingham’s MPs as part of Friends of the Earth’s national campaign, The Big Ask (1), which calls for the Government to legislate for annual targets of 3% cuts in carbon dioxide emissions. It has emerged today (2) that the Government has announced that due to lobbying by members of the public and getting the support of their MPs, there is likely to be something included in the Queen’s speech in November.

One supportive MP was Steve McCabe, MP for Hall Green. Resident Janet Browne went to one of his surgeries and won over Mr McCabe’s support for the law to set annual targets and review. Janet said “I was grateful that Steve, despite his busy diary, was happy to discuss climate change for nearly two hours. I was delighted Steve supported our call. Beforehand, I didn’t think he would be supportive but actually, he genuinely listened, engaged in debate and ended up agreeing with me”.

Mr McCabe wrote a letter, on request, to the Environment Secretary, David Miliband, calling for legislation on annual targets and monitoring of climate change emissions. Gisela Stuart MP turned out to be supportive as well despite initial doubts about her views. Very supportive MPs across the city are Clare Short, John Hemming, Roger Godsiff, Lynne Jones and Richard Burden. Sion Simon (Erdington), Khalid Mahmood (Perry Barr), Liam Byrne (Hodge Hill) and Andrew Mitchell (Sutton Coldfield) have so far been less supportive. This makes a majority of MPs backing Friends of the Earth’s campaign for an addition on climate change to the Queen’s speech. As well as the lobby, it follows a deluge of 500 postcards to Birmingham MPs calling for this policy.

Chris Williams of Birmingham Friends of the Earth comments “I’m encouraged by our MPs for engaging with people in a democratic way and for working with them to push for this climate change law, led by Friends of the Earth. It’s been very pleasing to hear such positive support from 7 of the 11 MPs in the city. We do, however, cautiously await the exact detail of what the Government proposes, hoping that it will be of real substance”.