Jo praises new democracy website


Jo is encouraging MPs and constituents to use www.HearFromYourMP.com

Jo Swinson MP has praised a new website aimed at encouraging MPs to report back to their constituents.

The website www.HearFromYourMP.com was launched in Parliament yesterday at a reception organised by Jo Swinson. The site allows people to sign up to receive a report on the work of their MP. It also uses the internet as a forum for discussion and feedback on the MP’s report.

Jo, who was one of the first MPs to pilot the new website, commented:

“We are seeing an increasing number of sites appearing on the internet that are designed to help people to participate in democracy. I want to use these resources as fully as possible, and I want to encourage people with internet access to sign up to them as well.

“This site is all about building up a closer relationship between an MP and his or her constituents. It is about making the MP accountable, making sure people are informed about what their MP is doing and improving access to what can sometimes be a daunting political system.”

The website works by building up a list of people who want to hear from their MP. When enough have signed up, the MP will get sent an email with a message saying, for example, ’20 of your constituents would like to hear a report of your recent work’.

If the MP doesn’t reply, the list will continue to build, and they will get emails saying there are now 100 people; 200 people; 500 people – until they cannot ignore the need to reply. After this, users will be able to access a forum for discussion of the report, where they can start talking to each other and to their MP.

The site is one of a number created by the group mySociety to improve the civic and community aspects of people’s lives. MySociety Director Tom Steinberg commented:

“The aim of HearFromYourMP is to give people a means of finding out what their MP is doing, in a way that is accessible and enables direct public debate on issues raised.

“We have already received a good response to the site from MPs and the electorate, and we hope it will be a valuable addition to the growing number of websites encouraging democratic participation.”

Previously, Jo Swinson used www.PledgeBank.com, another MySociety website, to organise a public meeting on phonemasts in Bearsden Burgh Hall, which was attended by over 70 people.

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