Start here for a quick understanding of politics and advocating for the world’s poor.


What you’ll learn:

  • Which political leaders to focus on.
  • Who your Members of Parliament are and how to contact them.
  • How a bill becomes a law
  • How to influence your Member of Parliament.
  • Helpful information.


1. What politicians should I focus on? In the context of the UK Parliament, you should primarily focus on the Members of Parliament (MPs) who represent your specific constituency. These MPs have the power to influence policy decisions, allocate funding, and pass legislation. While the role of the UK Prime Minister and government is significant, engaging with your local MPs allows you to directly impact the legislative process and advocate for specific issues related to poverty reduction.


2. Who are my members of Parliament and how can I contact them?

To find your Members of Parliament, you can visit the official UK Parliament website or use online tools that provide information based on your postal code. These resources will help you identify the MPs representing your constituency. Once you have their names, you can easily locate their contact information on the UK Parliament website or their official websites.


3. How does a bill become a law? This video explains How a Bill becomes a Law

Overview of bills to laws explained:

  • Green Paper: consultation documents about a Bill – usually very vague. Discussed with constituency members.
  • The Government then issues a White Paper – contains more concrete policy proposals and a draft Bill is implemented.
  • A Bill is then formally proposed and read – known as the First Reading. No debate at this stage, the Bill is read in the House of Commons only.
  • The Second Reading is arranged and the debate begins at the House of Commons. The Bill is voted on and it is decided whether it will continue on.
  • If agreed, the Bill commences to the Committee Stage – the Chairman of the Committee will make amendments if applicable.
  • The Bill then enters the Report Stage – all members of the House of Commons can suggest amendments to the Bill.
  • The Third Reading is then introduced, where there is usually little debate. 
  • If passed in the House of Commons, the Bill moves over to the House of Lords, and the process is repeated.
  • Once both Houses agree to the wording of the Bill, it goes to the King for Royal Assent.
  • The King signs the Bill and it becomes a Law.


4. How long does it take for a bill to pass? The legislative process can vary in duration. Bills can be introduced and passed within a relatively short period, while others may take several months or even years to become law. It depends on the complexity of the bill, political considerations, and the level of support it receives from Members of Parliament.


5. Gaining Support? In the context of the UK Parliament, the term “cosponsor” is not commonly used. However, in the UK, Members of Parliament can support or endorse specific bills by expressing their agreement or voting in favor of the proposed legislation. The support of MPs is crucial in pushing for bills to be scheduled for debates, votes, and potential passage into law. Advocacy efforts often involve urging MPs to support and champion key poverty-reduction bills in order to generate momentum and secure parliamentary action.


6. Know your MP Join TheyWorkForYou and learn more about your MP and their day to day activities.


7. Is my leader on a key Committee or Target Group? Engaging every Member of

Engaging with Members of Parliament in key positions is crucial for advancing poverty-reduction initiatives. If your MP serves on the following committees or groups, it is important to mobilize support and contact them to express your advocacy for poverty-related legislation.

  • Foreign Affairs Committee: This committee handles many bills related to poverty reduction and plays a significant role in advancing them through the legislative process.
  • Appropriations Committee: Members of Parliament on this committee determine the allocation of funding for government programs and agencies, including those addressing poverty.
  • Party Leadership: MPs in leadership positions have significant influence over parliamentary decisions, including the scheduling and prioritization of bills.
  • Caucuses or Groups: Some MPs may be part of caucuses or groups that focus on poverty-related issues. Identifying these MPs and engaging with them can be instrumental in gaining support for poverty-reduction bills.

8. Are you a ‘Dual Constituent’? Okay so we totally just made up the term ‘Dual Constituent,’ but we’re trying to find a way to describe people with ties to multiple constituencies, such as studying in a different parliamentary constituency than where you grew up or where you live with your parents outside of the school year, it is essential to leverage this opportunity. As a ‘Dual Constituent,’ you can maximize your impact by contacting and engaging with leaders from all the constituencies to which you have connections.


9. How can I influence my leaders to support legislation that improves living conditions for millions of people? You’ve come to the right place! Here are the key ways to make an impact:

  • Email and call your Members of Parliament to express support for key bills. Even a few seconds of your time can bring important issues to their attention.
  • Mobilize others to contact Parliament. Encourage friends, family, and community members to join in advocating for the ODA or poverty-reduction legislation. The more people who express support, the stronger the message becomes.
  • Engage in lobbying efforts. You don’t have to be an expert to meet with your elected officials. Communicate your passion for addressing global poverty and highlight key points about the ODA or legislation you’re advocating for. Sending a thank-you email after the meeting is an opportunity to reinforce important information.
  • Utilise social media platforms. MPs and their staff often monitor social media for constituent concerns and support. Tweeting or posting on Facebook about poverty-related issues can help raise awareness and gain attention from your leaders.
  • Remember, your individual efforts, multiplied by the engagement of others, can make a significant difference in influencing your leaders to support legislation that improves the lives of millions of people affected by poverty.

Parliament in a Nutshell


  • The UK Parliament consists of two houses: the House of Commons and the House of Lords.
  • There are a total of 650 Members of Parliament (MPs) in the House of Commons and around 800 members in the House of Lords.
  • MPs in the House of Commons serve for a term of five years, while members of the House of Lords have life appointments or serve until retirement.
  • Each individual in the UK is represented by one MP in the House of Commons based on their constituency.
  • Constituencies are determined by population distribution, and each constituency represents approximately 70,000 to 100,000 people.
  • The House of Lords includes life peers, bishops, and hereditary peers, with the number of members not fixed and subject to change.
  • When it comes to advocacy, MPs are primarily interested in hearing from their own constituents, the people living in their respective constituencies.
  • If you send an advocacy email to an MP who does not represent your constituency, it may be ignored or redirected to your own representative.
  • To effectively engage with your representatives, it is crucial to direct your advocacy efforts towards the MPs who represent your specific constituency.