“After today, I think there is going to be a lot of discussion about these issues in parliament”. It was just a small sentence from Stephen Hammond, MP for Wimbledon, during the Tea time for change lobby on 9 June. However, it was this sentence which highlighted to me the importance of Tea time for change.
Just two weeks ago, if you had walked across Parliament Square you would have been able to catch a glimpse of rows and rows of bunting dancing in the wind outside Westminster Central Hall.
Yet, what was happening inside was even more magical. Inside the magnificent building, steeped in years of political history, over 1200 people had come together with the aim of making POVERTY history.
Tea and slogans
Amongst the hive of activity and hopeful, passionate, lively discussions, thousands of teacups lay scattered across tables, brandishing statements like ‘Tiny new tax: big refreshing difference’ as well as hundreds of home made cakes adorned with iced letters, spelling out phrases such as ‘support the Robin Hood tax‘ and ‘Aid works’.
Throughout the day one could spot groups of people gathering together around tables, later to be joined by their MP’s. As the day continued the number of these groups grew and grew. It was fantastic to see people engrossed in real, face to face conversation with the people who represent them in parliament.
To me it was clear that so many people had a lot to say to their MP’s and were making the most of the opportunity to tell them their view on international development.
But what was even more important was that these MP’s were now starting to listen.
I had a chance to meet with my MP’s representative and I was pleasantly surprised with the overwhelmingly positive response that I received.
I wanted my MP to know that there are so many other people like me who really feel strongly about the need for our government to show their support for international development.
Not only did the representative say that my local MP, Simon Wright, would most definitely be supportive of the legislation of the aid promise of 0.7% of GNI by 2013, but she also said that Simon would be happy to write to the prime minister and chancellor surrounding corporate transparency and a tax on the financial sector.
But Tea time for change doesn’t stop here.
We need to make sure that this positive step forward is continued and ensure that all the promises made on 9 June are kept.
That is why I will be arranging a meeting with Simon Wright in a few weeks, to ensure that he has heard our message. Simon has also promised to send me copies of the letters before they are sent off, so I am eagerly awaiting these and will make sure that I chase this up.
Until then I will enjoy the memories of without doubt one of the best tea parties I have ever been to!