What is lobbying?
Lobbying is when an individual or a group tries to persuade someone in Parliament to support a particular policy or campaign. Lobbying can be done in person, by sending letters and emails or via social media.
Who can lobby Parliament?
Anyone can lobby their MP or a member of House of Lords but it is usually more effective if you can find other people who share your concerns or experiences to lobby with you as a group. People who often lobby Parliament and its members include businesses, charities, pressure groups, trade unions and representatives of various sectors of industry.
How do I lobby my MP or a member of the Lords?
There are many ways to make your case. Some of the most commonly used are:
- Sending emails or letters
Sending a personal letter or email will have more impact than a template. It also allows you to explain your own reasons for asking for their support: has the issue affected you, or someone you know, personally for instance?
- Organising and presenting a petition or survey
A local petition or a survey of local opinions can add weight to your case by showing that there is wider support in the community.
- Providing information or research to back up your case
If you have any evidence or research that supports your case it may be more persuasive. It may also help an MP or a member of the Lords to make the case to others.
- Inviting an MP or a member of the Lords to a meeting or event where they can find out more about the issue
Holding an event where your MP or a member of the Lords can listen to informed speakers or hear the views of other local people can add to their understanding of an issue.
What is a mass Lobby?
A mass lobby is when a large number of people contact their MPs and members of the Lords in advance and arrange to meet with them at Parliament all on the same day. Mass lobbies are usually organised by larger national or regional campaign groups who arrange for them to coincide with a public rally or demonstration in London.
Organisers of mass lobbies should contact the following offices for advice as early as possible:
Serjeant at Arms' Office - 020 7219 3050
Police Operations, Palace of Westminster - 020 7219 6882
What are the guidelines for lobbying?
- Lobbyists may bring in literature relevant to the subject that they hope to discuss. They may offer this literature to the Members of Parliament that they meet but should refrain from delaying Members of Parliament or parliamentary staff from their duties. Certain items are not permitted on the parliamentary estate, see a list of prohibited items
- Lobbyists may be requested to remove or cover items of clothing with political slogans especially if these are offensive
- Lobbyists may not use Central Lobby as a platform to protest
These guidelines are in place to ensure that Parliament offers a safe, secure and equal opportunity for all those wishing to lobby their MP
Lobbying rules for Members of Parliament