Writing to your MP

Writing to politicians is a great way to raise awareness of homelessness and poor housing in your local area. It’s quick and easy, plus helps your MP to represent you in Parliament. 

Contacting your MP

Politicians have the power to solve bad housing and homelessness – that’s why we talk to them. We know that they listen to us because of our many committed supporters. Contacting your MP might seem daunting, but it’s easier than ordering a takeaway and it’s also the most effective way to make your voice heard. When all of us take local action, it can lead to national change.

What can my MP do about the issues that concern me?

It’s your MP’s job to make your voice heard in Parliament whether you voted for them or not. They represent their local area and can raise concerns of local people.

They can:

  • vote on issues in Parliament

  • write to the government minister responsible for the issue or make an appointment to see them

  • ask questions in Parliament (‘Parliamentary Questions’ or PQs) about issues you raise

  • ask for a debate in Parliament. A relevant minister will always attend this debate to respond to your MP on behalf of the government

We send research and policy reports to MPs, but they’re unlikely to pay any attention if they think an issue doesn’t affect their area. When you talk about local housing issues with your MP, you're adding your voice to a national campaign demanding change.

Why not write to a government minister?

Sometimes we might ask you to write directly to a minister, because they make the final decisions on issues. But in most cases, it makes the most sense to write to your MP as they are your elected representative.

You can ask your MP to write to a minister on your behalf. This can have more impact than writing to them directly as your MP speaks on behalf of tens of thousands of constituents.

Who is my MP?

Find out who your local MP is using www.theyworkforyou.co.uk. Or, call the House of Commons Information Office on 020 7219 4272.

How do I contact my MP?

MPs usually have an office in their constituency (your local area), and in Parliament. You can contact them at either office by telephone, letter or email. Find your MP’s constituency office address and phone number through www.theyworkforyou.co.uk.

Tips for writing to your MP

Email or handwritten letter?

Handwritten letters really stand out – just think about the last time you received one! But MPs will also respond to emails, and some prefer to correspond this way.

Include your name and address

If it’s your first letter to your MP, start by introducing yourself. MPs only listen to concerns from their constituents, so include your address and postcode to confirm they need to listen to you, and so they know where to send a response.

Make it personal

Use your own words to explain why you care about this issue. You could talk about relevant facts and figures, explain how this is impacting your local area or include a personal story relating to the issue. This will make your letter more memorable – MPs get sent lots of things from constituents, so you want yours to stand out.

Ask your MP to do something

After you’ve explained the issue, it’s important to tell your MP what you want them to do about it. You’ll want to ask them to take action. State how you think they can they help to solve the problem is really helpful.

Keep it brief

Be concise and get to the point quickly. Aim to keep your letter short (a page or two, max) and stick to a single issue to make it really clear what you want your MP to focus on addressing.

Ask for a response

You should ask your MP to confirm that they’ve acted and clarify what they’ve done in a response to your letter. And if you haven’t received a reply from your MP after a few weeks, follow up via email or by calling their office to check that your letter arrived.

Say thanks

If your MP has done something positive, say thanks – they’ll appreciate it.


Letter template

MPs are most likely to respond to a personalised letter, and especially one written by a passionate constituent who sets out why an issue is so important to them.

But if you do need a bit of guidance on how to set out your letter, here’s a template example you could use to help you write to your MP.

{YOUR FULL ADDRESS}
{YOUR POSTCODE}
{DATE}

Dear {MP NAME},  

My names is {YOUR NAME} and I am a constituent of {OUR CONSTITUENCY}. I am writing to you today because I am concerned about {ISSUE}. This is something that’s particularly important to me as {EXPLAIN KEY REASONS AND ANY PERSONAL EXPERIENCES THAT HAVE INFORMED THIS}.  

I am asking you to take the following steps to address my concerns:  

  • {BULLET POINT LIST OF CLEAR ACTIONS}

  • {DON’T FORGET TO INCLUDE A REASONABLE TIME FRAME}

In your response I would like you to outline the ways you intend to address this on my behalf. If you’re unable to address this personally, I would like to request that you escalate my letter to the relevant Minister or department.  

Please do keep me informed of any progress made.  

I look forward to hearing from you.  

Yours faithfully,  

{YOUR NAME}

Any other questions? ­­

If we haven’t answered your question about writing to your MP, please email campaign@shelter.org.uk and we’ll do our best to help.