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General Election Guide
With a general election coming on Thursday 12 December, now is the time for the Irish community to get the attention of politicians in Britain. Candidates will vary in their levels of awareness of Irish needs and political concerns. Some will have no awareness at all. This presents an opportunity to surprise them with information and points of view they have never heard before.
You must be registered to vote by 26 November. You can find out more about how to register here.
The stakes are high at the upcoming election. Topical issues are the future of Brexit and the consequences for the future constitutional settlement, a new immigration bill and protocols, new spending priorities, localism and representation. These issues are deeply important to Britain’s Irish community. Click here for Irish in Britain’s suggested questions for all political candidates standing on 12 December. Our work informs us that these are shared concerns.
If you are pressed for time you could focus your attention on the one or two candidates most likely to win. Unsuccessful candidates may become MPs in the future and are likely to be involved in local politics, so it is not a waste of time to speak to them. If you suspect a candidate from outside the three main parties may win the seat, it is also worthwhile contacting them.
What you can do:
Write letters and emails to candidates. Writing as a voter rather than an activist will carry more weight as candidates hear from activists all the time but rarely from regular voters. Doing the same to local newspapers is another potentially effective way to make yourself heard.
Raise issues on your doorstep. If you have a candidate or canvassers knock on your door, they will be happy to answer an informed question.
Phone radio phone–ins. They need questions and you need answers.
Attend hustings. These are public meetings often held at churches and community centres which give candidates a chance to address constituents. At them you can raise concerns and question candidates on their intentions and views. You can find the time and place of hustings in local papers, online, libraries and on church notice boards.
Hold a hustings – use our guideand our template for a letter to candidates. Irish in Britain member organisations could organise a husting. If you can get the candidates for your constituency together in your Irish club or community centre and bring your service users or members to meet the candidates, it is a fantastic opportunity to put your club and the needs of the local Irish community onto the candidates’ radar.
Arrange individual meetings with candidates. This is quite a big undertaking so prepare well and be armed with questions.
It is good to hold MPs to account after elections – keep a record of all relevant things said to you or to the community before election day.