Open Letter to Colchester
Sent to the Evening Gazette in January 2021
Dear residents of Colchester,
A very important Private Members Bill is awaiting review in March in the Houses of Parliament – the Climate and Ecological Emergency (CEE) Bill. This was presented to MPs last year to set out an emergency plan for the UK to follow whilst strengthening environmental legislation in the UK. You may be aware that our government is far from reaching its targets for reducing our CO2 levels and has watered down departments and legislation protecting our wildlife and green spaces over the last decade in favour of developers and profit.
Many residents have written to their MPs in Colchester and beyond about the Bill and have received a “stock” reply; i.e. identical responses from each one. Whilst we appreciate our MPs are busy we believe that a stock response is not good enough in the face of an emergency and knowing what civilisation will have to face in the coming years. We want our MPs to look beyond the party line and really understand what is going on and support the Bill in March.
In 2019 the UK Parliament (though NOT the government) declared a climate emergency along with 75% of local councils including Colchester Borough and Tendring District Council. Many UK scientists and environmental groups and charities feel that the CEE Bill is a vital next step to bring better environmental protection and ensure the government steps up with an urgent strategy to achieve zero carbon by 2030.
There are already 90 MPs supporting the CEE Bill. Please spend a few minutes contacting your MP before Friday 26 March 2021. You can find out more about the Bill at https://www.ceebill.uk and find resources and letters received from our local MPs at https://climateletters.org. They will have to take notice if enough of us write to them!
Lisa Cross, Rosie Dodds, Leslie Bell, Clare Smee, Juliet Heller, Robin Woosey, Doug Selway, Ginny Waters, Tim Morris, Elia Valentini
The standard M.P.’s reply and how to challenge it.
Takeaways from the standard letter sent by Bernard Jenkin, Giles Watling and Will Quince (things to use and challenge them with):
Yet: since they did not draft the reply, the most effective thing might not be arguments, but numbers: see here for tips on replying to the stock letter.
These M.P.’s replies are identical but for one tiny deviation in Giles Watling ‘s first sentence.
Bernard Jenkin’s reply to J.W. Will Quince’s reply to E.V. Giles Watling’s reply to R.D.
- He claims to care: “Let me be clear: tackling climate change is a priority for me and my Ministerial colleagues.”
- He thinks pushing for net zero by 2030 rather than 2050 is “almost certainly impossible, hugely disruptive and risks undermining consensus”.
- He believes “getting to net zero by 2050 is (…) consistent with avoiding most damaging climate change.”
- He is sceptical to the usefulness of CAs: “I do not believe citizens’ assemblies have advantages over conventional policy making in this context. Previous experiences in Canada, for instance, included citizens in the decision-making process but they failed to produce impactful or long-lasting results.”
- He seems to think the government is already dealing sufficiently with the climate emergency, e.g. “I do not believe that it is required as work is already underway.”
- He writes that the Bill as been drafted “by campaign members of Extinction Rebellion, Big Ask and Power for the People”. Worth stressing wide range of support (for instance R.D.’s “The Climate and Ecological Emergency Bill has been drawn up by a collaborative team with input from lawyers and eminent climate scientists.”)
It’s a Numbers Game –
Please take 5 minutes to write to your MP
The CEE bill is a Private Members’ Bill written by scientists, lawyers and activists. It has support from a broad range of campaign groups, businesses, charities, individuals and, at present, 81 MPs. The bill has the potential to become the most significant move forward since the Climate Change Act 2008 (also a PMB), but to achieve this, we need everyone’s help lobbying our MPs. This is a numbers game(!) so please take five minutes to write to your MP, put up a CEE bill poster. We know time is precious, so here are some resources you can use depending on your time:
If you only have 2-5 minutes
Print or copy this template (remember to add their name and your signature) and send it to your MP. Emailing might be easier, but printing and sending it in the post is more effective. (Scroll down for contact details).
If you have Twitter: Send the following tweet (or equivalent) to your MP (@bernardjenkin; @willquince; @GilesWatling; @pritipatel): Please will you support the Climate and Ecological Emergency Bill? This is a desperate planetary crisis, and the UK has a responsibility to do more. Make the CEE bill law #CEEbill #ActNow #CitizensAssembly #savetheplanet via @CEEbill_NOW
If you have 20-30 minutes
Draft your own letter and email or (preferably) post it to your MP. Individually drafted letters are more effective than mass letters. Don’t worry too much about the length or content – this is a numbers game more than an arguments game, so even a few lines or a post card are great.
If you have 30 minutes: Call your MP and ask them to support the Bill. Contact details:
- Bernard Jenkin – Conservative Member of Parliament for Harwich and North Essex: email@example.com; House of Commons, London, SW1A 0AA, 020 7219 4029
- William James Quince – Conservative Member of Parliament for Colchester – firstname.lastname@example.org; House of Commons, London, SW1A 0AA, 020 7219 8049
- Giles Watling – Conservative Member of Parliament for Clacton-on-Sea – email@example.com; House of Commons, London, SW1A 0AA, 0207 219 0795
- Priti Patel – Conservative Member of Parliament for Witham – firstname.lastname@example.org; House of Commons, London, SW1A 0AA 0207 219 3528
Letter writing tips and points
You don’t have to follow every one of these!
- Say who you are and whether you have been in touch before.
- Be polite and to the point.
- Give your address (to show you are in their constituency and ensure they get back).
- Explain why the climate and ecological emergency is so important to you.
- Mirror their language, frame it in terms of what your MP cares about.
- State why you think they should support the CEE bill. This might be because passing the CEE bill ensures that:
- our entire carbon footprint is taken into account (including all of the emissions linked to the production and transport of goods from overseas that we consume in the UK;
- we don’t depend on technology (NETs) to save the day as an excuse for inaction;
- we focus on nature as much as climate, protecting and conserving habitats in the UK and internationally on supply chains;
- citizens are central to deciding how to move forward, in a Citizens’ Assembly with real teeth.
- Ask them specific questions (they almost have an obligation to reply to individual constituents’ questions!)
- Ask them to support the bill and to support a second reading on the 26 March. (We have been given a second reading date of 26 March. The likelihood is that this version of the CEE Bill won’t be high enough on the list of PMBs set to be discussed that day. BUT: this is still a crucial marker in the life of the Bill and we need to recruit as many MPs to support before then so we can ask, ‘Why was this bill not given priority?’)
Do inform us of any responses you receive by getting in touch: email@example.com
CEE Letter writing resources
CEE Letter Writing
Aim: Get all our MPs in the East (Bernard Jenkin, Will Quince, Giles Watling, Priti Patel etc) to endorse and support the Climate and Environmental Emergency Bill.
- Bernard Jenkin – Conservative Member of Parliament for Harwich and North Essex since 2010. Contact: https://members.parliament.uk/member/40/contact
- William James Quince – Conservative Member of Parliament for Colchester since 2015. Contact: https://members.parliament.uk/member/4423/contact
- Giles Francis Watling – Conservative Member of Parliament for Clacton since 2017. Contact: https://members.parliament.uk/member/4677/contact
- Priti Patel – Conservative Member of Parliament for Witham since 2010. Contact:
Note: Numbers are the crucial thing – get your friends, family etc. to write letters or just sign a postcard! Hand-written or mailed letters are more effective than emails.
Why it’s important to contact our MPs about the CEE Bill
Summary Info including links to ideas for letter writing –
On voting records: https://www.theyworkforyou.com
List of MPs who sponsored, co-sponsored or have supported the bill.
Next: Letter writing tips and points
Letters/emails already sent
Use for inspiration
- General draft template – please use this for ideas rather than copying in total – add or delete as you like but personalise. If you think using a template is cheating, check out the M.P.’s identical responses.
- R.D.’s letter to Giles Watling MP + the stock reply he sent
- (see here on tips on how to reply to the set letter)
- L.B’s email to Bernard Jenkin
- C.M.’s letter to Bernard Jenkin
- J.W.’s letter to Bernard Jenkin MP + the stock reply he sent
- G.W.’s letter to Bernard Jenkin
- L.C.’s letter to Will Quince
- E.V.’s email to Will Quince + the stock reply he sent
- Reply from Will Quince to an email on HS2, 19/09/20