How to Lobby an MP on the Nuclear Weapon Ban Treaty

Taniel Yusef and Janet Fenton speaking at the Ban Treaty training day

How can we persuade our MPs to support the Ban Treaty? What can we ask them to do? Read on for some useful advice from Janet Fenton and Taniel Yusef.

The recent Ban Treaty Training Day with Janet Fenton and Taniel Yusef discussed how to lobby an MP. 

There are two main aspects: Preparation and Process.

Preparation

Janet discussed how to lobby an MP and what to prepare beforehand.

Janet Fenton speaking at the Ban Treaty Training Day
Janet Fenton at the meeting. Photo: PeaceIsBetter

Here’s a summary of Janet’s talk:

  • We don’t need to be an expert on the Ban Treaty. Basic knowledge is enough.
  • Rehearse your answers to bogus arguments – see Mythbusters (note 1).
  • Find out what is the main issue your MP cares about. Link to this issue in your points about the Ban Treaty. Deal with their issue first, to get their attention.
  • Know some basic facts about Trident.
  • Write a letter to your MP (see note 2) and ask for a meeting.
  • It is never a waste of time talking to MPs about nukes. Even if they are hardline nukers we can still expose poor reasoning. They then may be less inclined to use such reasons in the future.

Process

Taniel talked about how to structure the meeting with your MP.

Taniel Yusef speaking at the Ban Treaty training day
Taniel Yusef at the meeting. Photo: PeaceIsBetter

Here’s a summary of Taniel’s talk:

  • Ask if you can bring one or two others with you.
  • Find out how much time you have.
  • Be polite. Don’t interrupt.
  • You don’t need to know it all. You and your colleagues will know enough.
  • Take notes. Feedback to your national group.
  • Remind them of the International Humanitarian Law of Proportionality. Nukes are never a proportionate response to aggression, because they always result in excessive civilian harm.
Summary of the International Humanitarian Law of Proportionality
International Humanitarian Law of Proportionality in a nutshell. Photo: PeaceIsBetter
  • Ask them to do something concrete; e.g. sign the Parliamentary Pledge, watch a video, or ask a question. Follow up on this.
  • Give them something to take away; e.g. a copy of the Ban Treaty, a pamphlet, or an online video link.
 

Videos

For Janet’s talk on Preparation click here.

For Taniel’s talk on Process click here.

Notes

Note 1 – Mythbusters

Mythbusters are a series of counter-arguments that debunk the myths surrounding nuclear weapons and the Ban Treaty. They are useful in persuasion. They are also useful for those that refuse to be persuaded, as they reduce the chance of perpetuation.

Download the Mythbusters discussed at the event here – Mythbusters

Note 2 – Sample Draft Letter to an MP

Dear …….. MP,

I wish to meet you to discuss why the UK wants to renew Trident now the United Nations has a Ban Treaty in place.

The UK Strategic Defence Review (2015) supports multilateral disarmament. It states, “we are committed to the long-term goal of a world without nuclear weapons… we will continue to press for key steps towards multilateral disarmament”. So why does the UK not support the Ban Treaty?

The Non-Proliferation Treaty requires states to negotiate complete nuclear disarmament. So why is the UK breaking international law?

There are enough nuclear weapons to destroy our world many times over. So why is the UK doing nothing effective to reduce and remove this threat?

I enclose a copy of the Ban Treaty, and I hope you can suggest a date soon.

Yours sincerely,

…………………..

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