Please write to your respective constituency Member of Parliament as he or she is obliged to reply to correspondence from constituents.
Please find below a ‘model’ letter, to use in full if you need to. However, bear in mind that it is much more attention-grabbing for an MP to receive a personal letter from a constituent who may decide to vote/not vote for him/her during the next election.
I am writing to you as my constituency MP to express my deep
opposition to the government’s new Racial and Religious Hatred Bill
which had its first reading in the House of Commons on 9th June.
As you will know, the proposed legislation to outlaw incitement to
religious hatred is opposed by a very broad spectrum of individuals:
writers, artists, comedians, theatre producers, and citizens of many
faiths and none, including many British Muslims. It is opposed by
groups as diverse as English PEN, Index on Censorship, Article 19,
the National Secular Society, the Southall Black Sisters, and the
Islamic Commission on Human Rights. All of these electors oppose this
Bill not just because of its threat to freedom of expression, but
because it will undermine the human rights of every citizen and
seriously damage the fabric of tolerance in our society.
After meeting opposition in the last parliament, the Home Office
formally promised to engage in wide consultation before reintroducing
this legislation. It has gone back on its promise, publishing the
proposed offence in exactly the same words as before.
As a member of the writers’ organisation English PEN, and as a
citizen, I believe this legislation is ill conceived, badly drafted
and unnecessary. One serious consequence is that it will lead many in
minority communities to believe that it is their faith that is being
protected, and not they themselves as believers. The new offence will
leave them unrequited when it fails to produce their desired
outcomes, leading to frustration, division, and violence of the kind
seen in Birmingham last December. It will also open a Pandora’s box
of prosecutions between faiths, threatening, as similar legislation
has done in Australia, their own ability to function.
English PEN, which strongly opposed this legislation in the last
parliament, now intends to lead a powerful coalition of the very many
and diverse groups that are against this legislation. We believe the
government is about to make a terrible mistake and create a climate
in which religion can be used politically, to intimidate and inflame,
instead of enlighten. We need not more repressive laws in Britain
today, but a more open society for all citizens in which free speech
can combat bigotry of all kinds and promote tolerance.
I ask for your assurance that as my MP you will vote against this
Bill, and look forward to hearing from you.
Originally posted with the url: www.englishpen.org/aboutenglishpen/campaigns/offence/archiveofnews/englishpenisurgingitsmembersto/