We enjoyed a nice cup of tea

Tea Time for Change lobby of MPs at Westminster was a fantastic day.

I was on the welcoming team and it was great to meet so many people from all the different agencies involved – Actionaid, Bond, CAFOD, Christian Aid, Oxfam, Save the Children and Tearfund.

The Brentwood office was well represented with both myself and Mary meeting our respective MPs, alongside campaigners David, Jo, Des, Irene, Bernie and Stefan.

It was Mary’s first lobby and she met MP Stephen Metcalfe alongside fellow supporter Jo Campbell. Both Mary and Jo were pleased with Stephen’s response to their questions, saying ‘It is in our best interests for us to not recover our economies off the backs of the poor. We must not forget that although we are having tough times, we are part of the bigger global picture.’

Des, from Wanstead, said: “I had to come, I’m very committed to justice and getting the right aid to people and this was a great opportunity to get to the heart of government – talk to MPs and find out where they stand on the issue. I have first-hand experience of the suffering in poor countries and it’s so important the Government sticks to its aid promises. Meeting John Cryer has been very encouraging, he is genuinely committed to social justice and what we have been calling for in terms of aid commitments today.”

John Cryer MP said: “Today is a great event. I think lobby’s around development and equality are hugely important, change comes from outside parliament. I think pressure should be put on banks and big business so they don’t exploit and take advantage of poorer countries.”

Denise’s MP, Mike Gapes (Ilford South), was also extremely supportive. Whilst supporting the 0.7% of national income being spent on Aid, he is concerned that some of the money could be taken from other budgets and then spent on areas other than poverty reduction. Having always supported a Tobin Tax he is also behind the call for a Robin Hood Tax (a tax on the financial sector) to tackle global poverty and the effects of climate change. Mr Gapes also confirmed he would be writing to both George Osborne to support the adoption of strong EU legislation for country-by-country and project-by-project reporting in the oil, gas and mining sectors.

All in all, an energising (and exhausting!) day. Thank you to everyone who came along.

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You can find lots of short videos from the day on the website including interviews with lobbyists, volunteers and MPs.

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