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MPs are your voice

June 05 2005
It‘s easy to express your concerns to your elected representative Now the election's over and MPs have taken up their seats, it's time to ask not what you can do for your country, but what your MP can do for you. Yes, you have an MP, even if you're sleeping rough, and to find out who is an easy task:
1 Choose where you are "resident" (either where you bed down most frequently, where you have registered to receive post, or where you spend most of your static time) and find out the relevant postcode.
2 Enquire at your local council offices who the Member of Parliament for that postal district is, or go online to Find your MP, and type in your postcode.
3 You can now either write to them at The House of Commons, London, SW1A 0AA, or call 020 7219 3000 and ask to be transferred to their office (where you will probably talk to one of their staff or the MP themselves).

Or you can circumvent this by going to Fax your MP or Write to them, both of which give you easy, free access to your parliamentary representative. Go to these sites and type in you postcode, wait for the message box to come up, type in your details and message, and then send. It should also offer you information on your MP. E-democracy at work. It's that easy to speak to your elected representative and tell them your concerns. They are waiting for your call, so give it a go.

Remember when writing to an MP these points:
- Do not waste their time with vague rants, but ask for particular advice or action (if required).
- For the swiftest service write to an MP only if appropriate and having exhausted other avenues. If it's a council problem, write to the council offices first and only to your member if the appropriate response is not forthcoming. If you've tried other services first, such as your local council office, and had no luck, mention this when you contact your MP - it will show you mean business.
- Shy away from using form letters, especially as part of a campaign, or you should only expect a form letter in response, as offices have to cope with large quantities of mail. Make it personal, and you're more likely to get a personal response.
- Some offices (few) are sticklers and may query you as you may not appear on the electoral register, but stand your ground and argue your corner - the MP is there to represent you.

In future elections - council, by-elections, or European elections - register to vote. Anyone can - it is a myth that homeless people cannot vote. Your MP will almost certainly see your letter and work on your behalf.

Remember that the system is not as remote as outsiders often think.