Jerry Barrs reports on his experience with his Conservative MP. (January 2017)
Four of us representing Christian Aid met with our MP at his constituency office.
Back in 2007 we had presented him with a copy of Planet Earth - We have a Problem by the All Party Parliamentary Group on Climate Change, and have had subsequent conversations on the subject. His responses have been consistently non-committal and we had been frustrated by his failure to meet with us at the Parliamentary lobby in London in 2015. We were therefore seeking new ways to engage constructively with him.
A pre-Christmas meeting with Jo and Sarah from Hope for the Future had provided some valuable advice on the tone for our forthcoming conversation and this was shared with the group prior to our meeting with our MP. We identified a number of constructive questions including areas in which he had demonstrated an interest, particularly flooding, fuel poverty and links with Ethiopia. We also drew his attention to the existence of the local Community Energy Co-operative and the likely impact of proposed government taxation changes.
We were pleased when he undertook to write to Greg Clark on the subject- although we are still waiting for a copy of his letter. We managed to engage him on all the identified subjects and had some positive responses in respect of renewable energy. We left with the impression that we still have some way to go but enough encouragement to keep on going!