Our Work in Parliament

4 min read

Engaging your Member of Parliament

Could you help engage your MP and help us raise awareness of the issues facing the brain tumour community?

Don’t worry if you have never spoken to an MP before we can help you.

MPs are there to serve their constituents. MPs who meet constituents with a brain tumour story are far more likely to support our cause.

Although MPs are important people, don’t be daunted by the thought of meeting them. After all, MPs are only human and they’re there to help.

If you’re interested in meeting your MP or becoming a Campaigner, please either email us or call 01908 867200

If you’re interested in writing to or setting up a meeting with your MP, we have some handy tips below to make things easier for you.

Your first contact with an MP is especially important. Here are a few tips:

  • First and foremost, the meeting should be about you and your story
  • Think about what you might say to support our campaigning work and how your story reinforces the issues we are campaigning about – we can help you with this
  • Check the time and venue of the meeting, wear comfortable clothes and arrive ten minutes early
  • MPs are very busy so be patient and be prepared to wait!
  • MPs are usually experts in just a few subjects so you’ll probably know more about brain tumours than they do!
  • Ask for a photo together. Post it on twitter and include @braintumourrsch and the MP’s name and Twitter reference in your tweet – Most MPs use twitter rather than facebook
  • After your meeting, send a thank you letter or email. Include the main points from the meeting and what you both agreed to do afterwards and please send a copy to us campaigning@braintumourresearch.org - along with any responses

Good luck! And thank you for your precious time.

Parliamentary Petitions

Petitions about brain tumours are created and driven by individuals.

Parliamentary e-petitions are an opportunity for our supporters and activists to be heard by Government and Parliament. The Government formally recognises such petitions and are required to respond.

For a petition to be successful it is important that it is written in such a way that action can be taken – we can help with this.

We can also help you maximise awareness and success for your petition

If you would like to set up a petition, please contact us on campaigning@braintumourresearch.org or call us on 01908 867200 and we’ll be happy to help you set it up.

How the House of Commons petitions process works

Once a member of the public creates a petition on the Parliamentary website it will stay open for six months, as long as it is approved.

If a petition attracts 10,000 signatures, the Government will issue a response.

Should a petition reach 100,000 signatures, the Petitions Committee will consider the petition for debate in Parliament.

Debates involve MPs giving speeches as well as statements from a Government Minister and a member of the Official Opposition.

Members of the public can request to watch but are not permitted to speak in the debate.

Whilst we welcome the additional exposure that campaigning on platforms such as Avaaz, 38 Degrees, Change.org etc can bring, we focus our resources on challenging the Government via our own Petitions or those on the official Parliamentary e-petitions website.

Task and Finish Working Group on brain tumour research

In February 2018, a Department of Health & Social Care (DHSC) Task and Finish Working Group, which was established following an unprecedented e-petition where 120,129 signatories demanded more investment in brain tumour research, published its conclusions. 

Chaired by Professor Chris Whitty, the DHSC Chief Scientific Adviser, and including clinicians, charities, other officials and a patient carer, the Working Group closely analysed the complex issues around research into brain tumours in the UK. 

Read the Report here

Summary of the Task and Finish Working Group conclusions:

Dedicated brain tumour research centres are an effective way of expanding and developing research capacity and capability. 

The current processes for collection, storage and sharing of brain tumour tissue, blood samples and clinical data are not optimal for the latest research requirements.

Appropriate drugs, originally developed for other conditions but with potential for the effective treatment of brain tumours, should be ‘re-purposed’ where the evidence supports it.

Sub–speciality training for neuro-oncology should be included in the curriculum and appropriate time should be ring-fenced to allow consultants to carry out research.

Funders should highlight that applications focused on brain tumour research are particularly welcome. These include studies on the development of pre-clinical models, tumour detection, radiotherapy, surgery, drug development, and clinical trials. 

The UK tumour and neurosciences research communities should work together to explore opportunities for research collaborations.

Patient health data, with the appropriate permission, should be available for use in research to accelerate the development of new treatments.

More coordination and cooperation within the brain tumour research community is essential to accelerate progress in the field.

The Working Group was established by the then Minister for Life Sciences, George Freeman MP during an April 2016 Parliamentary debate supported by Brain Tumour Research that saw over 70 MPs gather to discuss brain tumours.

This debate only took place thanks to the efforts of the brain tumour community, particularly Brain Tumour Research activists the Realf family. Stephen Realf, who tragically passed away in August 2014, was the inspiration for the successful e-petition calling for more brain tumour research funding.

Launched by his parents, Liz and Peter and his sister Maria Lester, the e-petition quickly attracted 120,129 signatures, prompting politicians to finally examine the topic of brain tumours, which have been neglected by successive Governments for decades.

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