This week MP for Selly Oak, Steve Mccabe, became the second of Birmingham’s ten MPs to support the Climate and Ecological Emergency Bill (CEE). The CEE Bill aims to ‘ensure that the UK plays its fair and proper role in limiting global temperatures to 1.5°C, by taking account of its entire carbon footprint; while actively improving the natural world by protecting and restoring UK ecosystems’. Birmingham is a city that hopes to champion the ‘zero carbon revolution’, so why aren’t more Brummie MP’s signing up to support this Bill?
Birmingham has two Tory MPs, Gary Sambrook and Andrew Mitchell. They both have thoroughly depressing track records of voting against measures to prevent climate breakdown. For example, Sutton Coldfield’s Andrew Mitchell has consistently voted for selling off England’s state-owned forests, as well as being pro badger culling and against financial incentives for low carbon emission electricity generation methods. So trying to get this pair on board may feel like pissing into the wind. Birmingham’s remaining six MPs, excluding the two who have already supported the Bill, are Labour.
Labour’s Liam Byrne, the runner for the next Birmingham Mayor election and MP for Hodge Hill, has an ambitious plan for Birmingham to be “the green heart of Britain“. Byrne, whose manifesto calls for ‘rebuilding prosperity for the many in our region by leading the Green Industrial Revolution’, argues that “The region that sparked the carbon revolution should now lead the zero carbon revolution’….We should become Britain’s first zero carbon region.”
So why hasn’t Liam Byrne, the man who pushed for “the West Midlands to declare a “climate emergency” back in May 2019, signed up to support the Climate and Ecological Emergency Bill? MP for Yardley, Jess Philips, has a positive track record of almost always voting for measures to prevent climate change. So why hasn’t she signed up to support the Bill? The same goes for many of the other Labour MPs?
Labour, who recently urged the Government to redouble Britain’s efforts to tackle the climate crisis, seem, in rhetoric at least, to be aligned with the demands of the CEE Bill. Could it be because it wasn’t a Labour motion? That political tribalism means a new Bill without a Labour sponsor fails to get backing? I don’t know. But we must make sure that it’s not because they simply haven’t been asked to support it. And while it’s common knowledge that politicians are often all talk and no action, we must demand that they act on their climate rhetoric by supporting this Bill.
Recently I was fortunate enough to be part of a training course on how to effectively engage with MPS, run by a fantastic organisation called Hope for the Future. The course taught a relationship-based approach to communication where we were asked to empathise with MPS (a tall order, I know!) We were encouraged to consider that MPs have gruelling schedules, that their positions mean they could be asked about anything at any time, therefore they need a broad knowledge base and have to know a little about a lot. Furthermore, MPs are often unaware of campaigns until they are highlighted to them or they may not consider a campaign unless their constituents insist they do. With this in mind, we need to make sure all our MPs know about the Climate and Ecological Emergency Bill so they can get behind it.
We have until March. With enough support galvanised, the Bill can get through the stages of the parliamentary processes needed to eventually become Law. But it needs as many people as possible emailing, writing, tweeting, calling, planning actions, putting that pressure on their MPs.
The second reading for the CEE Bill is scheduled to take place on Friday 12th March 2021. MPs need to see there is public appetite for this Bill and for the strong and urgent action on climate breakdown it demands.
See if your MP has supported the Bill here!
Information on how to contact and lobby your MP here.
More Information regarding how best to get in touch with your MP can be found below:
Copyright © 2020 EthicalWrites