This week saw the launch of the election manifestos for all of the three main UK political parties: the Conservatives, Labour and the Liberal Democrats. The good news is that all three parties emphasised their support for international development, and for the first time the Conservatives have joined Labour and the Liberal Democrats in pledging to implement legislation to bind the UK government to spending 0.7% of GNI on overseas aid by 2013.
BOND, which is a coalition of British organisations working on development, has produced assessments of the international development content of each party’s manifestos, which you can view here: Conservatives; Labour; and Liberal Democrats.
With the election hotting up more details are emerging all the time. If you want to know more about what the party leaders are saying there are some excellent videos produced by ONE, a campaigning group on international development. You can view them here.
How do I learn more about the election and international development?
Over the next few weeks we as campaigners for international development have a rare opportunity to get our voices heard by those who are running for election to be our MPs. To find out more about how to take advantage of this opportunity join our focus call on Tuesday the 20th April from 7-8pm – email firstname.lastname@example.org to get details of how to call in.
The call will give you a thorough briefing on the election including:
- What and when the election is;
- Why it is important for us as campaigners for the end of poverty;
- How you can get involved during the campaign period particularly through hustings and media work, including how to use the resources from Vote Global;
- What the positions of the different parties are on international development; and
- What happens after the election – engaging new MPs.
Is there anything I can do now?
One way that you can get involved now is to go along to a local hustings and challenge the candidates in your constituency to support international development. Hustings are organised by local groups – often the political parties’ local organisations or local churches – so there’s no central place to get information about them.
However, Churches Together in Britain and Ireland have pulled together a database of the hustings they are aware of which you can search. The database gives details of hustings that have been organised and also people who are interested in organising hustings in other constituencies. Many of them are coming up this weekend or early next week so please do check now to see if there is something happening in your constituency.