Politicians feel the heat of our demand for vaccines
As you may well know, every Wednesday the UK’s parliamentary representatives get together for the bish-bash ya-boo parade that is Prime Minister’s Questions. MPs get the chance to spend 30 minutes asking serious questions of Prime Minister David Cameron, which they must ask and he must answer through the jeering, laughing and shouting down.
Yesterday, just before the PM rose from his red velvet bench, MPs had International Development Questions when the Secretary and/or Ministers of State answer the questions. It’s generally a much more docile affair but they did cover a number of very interesting topics: Haiti, India, Yemen, Palestine, Sri Lanka, women, midwives and aid legislation.
Two questions stuck out for us in particular. Anas Sarwar MP said that he was proud to support the Save the Children campaign to make lifesaving vaccines available to more children in poor countries. He asked if the PM would attend a key summit in London this June where governments have the opportunity to ensure millions more children can get access to life-saving vaccinations.
“A real impetus to vaccination”
Stephen O’Brien stood up for the government and after dropping in a complement of his own for the campaign he told us that the PM would give the summit his “full support” to show the government’s “commitment” to increasing access to vaccines.
Moments later Jim Dobbin MP stood up and asked about the brilliant news that the Kenyan Government will roll out pneumococcal vaccine to help drastically reduce the number of children dying from pneumonia. Secretary of State Andrew Mitchell responded that“When we announce the results of the multilateral aid review, we shall show how Britain will give a real impetus to vaccination.” He followed saying that “[the summit] will be opened by the Prime Minister.”
Maybe this isn’t surprising given that the PM and MPs have heard from thousands of Save the Children supporters, like you, over the last fortnight.
Those thousands have been targeting government and MPs’ email inboxes; asking for the PM to attend, for him to use his influence to bring other governments on board and to work with others to make vaccines cheaper.
A voice in the corridors of power
So there you have it. International Development Parliamentary Questions is not quite the spectacle of Prime Minister’s Questions. But for sure this is a good sign that the campaign is being heard in the corridors, indeed the debate chambers and offices, of power.
But we won’t stop there, we’ve still got a way to go. Today MPs will have got back to their constituencies for a two-week half-term break. We can’t let them off the hook yet; drop them an email to deal with when they come back to Westminister. Or why not write them a letter or pop in to their ‘surgery’ asking them what they are going to do to add their unique and valuable voice to this tremendous campaign.
You can find tips for getting in touch with MPs by letter and at surgeries at www.theyworkforyou.com.
P.S. Don’t forget that if you have a meeting or get a response from your MP we always love to hear what they’ve got to say. So send us a copy too, if you can.