How can we drive climate to the forefront of the agenda? Advice from Government Whip, Graham Stuart.

Hope for the Future met with Government Whip and Conservative MP for Beverley and Holderness, Graham Stuart. Graham has been an outspoken advocate for strong UK climate policy and offered us his advice about how the climate movement can best support MPs to take action.

Graham’s no nonsense, pragmatic approach towards climate policy was obvious as soon as we walked in the room. He was himself sceptical of elaborate and costly climate policy until attending the UN Climate Negotiations (Conference of Parties) in 2005. He has since served on the Draft Climate Change Bill, Environmental Audit Committee and as Chairman of G.L.O.B.E International. You can read his article on how the rest of the world is catching up on the UK’s climate policy here.

We asked Graham how campaigners could get the best out of meeting with MPs on climate change. His first piece of advice to us was to have a clear, realistic ‘ask’ that you would like to make of an MP. He said;

“When I meet with constituents, I’m interested in what we can get done together. It’s nice to have a good conversation, but my main interest is to get stuff done and learning what I can do to help. Come to me with a specific, well thought through ‘ask’ and I will always consider it very carefully and try to help.”
— Graham Stuart MP

You can read our advice on how to form this kind of an ‘ask’ here.

Graham’s second piece of advice to us was that making the financial case for action on climate change is the argument that will help win over sceptical MPs. The UK has already invested huge resources in renewable energy and we’re on the cusp of a breakthrough to securing energy that is cheaper, cleaner and more sustainable. To pull back now would make no sense.

Graham’s message to us was clear; yes, climate change is a moral and environmental issue, but there is also a strong economic case to mitigate risk and promote UK excellence in the field of renewable energy. In the current political climate, that is the argument that will drive climate policy to the forefront of the political agenda for many Conservatives.