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Part 2 – How to build relationships with new MPs

There are a number of different strategies you can employ to reach and influence new MPs from all political parties, but where should you start?

In his first blog, Matt Ball, senior associate, looked at how to work with the new government on its policy agenda. In this second blog, he looks at building relationships with MPs. 

A striking aspect of the general election result is the sheer number of new Members of Parliament, with no prior parliamentary experience. These 334 MPs will be learning the ropes and finding their way in their newly elected roles. This has implications for the way charities, trade unions and membership organisations engage with the new parliament. Given the churn in the House of Commons, it’s worth thinking about the different ways to reach and influence MPs, not just the new government

Building local connections 

The new MPs will need time to settle in and their primary focus will be getting a constituency office up and running and serving their constituents.  

Depending on whether your organisation engaged successfully with candidates prior to their election, working with your members, supporters and beneficiaries through their constituency MP is a good way to start or build on relationships in the first instance. Some patience may be wise, you will find a more receptive audience once they’ve had some time to find their feet and empty their inboxes. 

Building relationships around single issues 

In time, many backbenchers will be looking for ways to make their own mark on this new parliament. Due to the numbers of them, there will be dozens of Labour MPs who are simply not going to get near promotion to government. If they do want to raise their profile, then picking a single issue or cause to champion is one way of doing so and you may know or find an MP that takes an interest in one of your priorities.  

Key contacts will be the new select committee members, who will develop a focus and expertise in their committee’s policy area. There will also be new memberships and lead members of All Party Parliamentary Groups that offer ways of joining single-issue discussions with MPs. 

Building relationships with opposition parties 

On a parliamentary party level, the Lib Dems will be looking to maintain their profile on the issues they highlighted in their election campaign, notably health and social care. They will be aided in this by Ed Davey’s guaranteed slot at Prime Minister’s Questions each week and an increased entitlement to select committee positions. Do your priorities align with areas that will feature in Lib Dem parliamentary activity? If so, how will you engage with them? 

Both Reform and the Greens will seek to use their new MPs to raise their profile, with the most obvious way to do this around their headline single issues of, respectively, immigration and climate change.  

The new Prime Minister chose to make developing constructive working relationships with the devolved nations one of the early steps during his first few days in office, with visits to Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales. Time will tell how this affects the actions of MPs from devolved nations. Due to its substantial loss of seats, the SNP will lose opportunities to raise and push its core issue of Scottish independence in Westminster and the party’s overall attention will likely switch to defending its record and its MSPs in the 2026 Scottish Parliament elections. 

Meanwhile, the Conservatives’ focus will turn inwards as they seek a new leader. There’s a new shadow frontbench to appoint, although this will be temporary for the duration of the leadership contest. It could be some time before there’s a settled official opposition to engage with. 

Building your own profile 

There’s no doubt the weeks and months after the election will be a crowded space where it will be hard to get coverage or engagement. One way to gain profile and make progress is to refine your asks down to those areas where you are the experts, or your compelling insights are unique. This could help you stand out from the crowd. Alternatively, coalition building with other campaigning organisations could help amplify your issues in a way that gets people to notice. 

Keep monitoring what’s happening in parliament and continue to evaluate your media coverage and campaigns activity. After such a major electoral outcome causing a big churn in parliamentary representation, your strategy, and certainly your tactics, that you’ve followed for the past 14 years may not have the same impact in this new political era. It’s time to make new friends. 

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