I remember starting to tell some MPs and Peers that a big, new “joint campaign on food and hunger” was coming about a year ago. “It’s going to be huge. You’re going to want to be involved,” I boasted, hoping that when the time came I would not have cause regret those words.
But as we pass 40,000 sign-ups to the Enough food for everyone IF campaign and have MPs and Peers literally queuing to show their support I am feeling that if anything I may have underestimated the power of IF. Because in a week which saw the political news dominated by fighting between and within parties over the EU and welfare cuts, the IF campaign was a point of unity for many in Westminster.
#IF on David Cameron’s agenda
The issues at the centre of the IF campaign were debated last week in both the House of Commons and the House of Lords – not a bad way to get this on the political agenda! What’s more two MPs
raised the IF campaign directly with the Prime Minister at the high profile sparring and paper-waving session that is Prime Minister’s Questions.
And on launch night itself, as amazing as the main launch at Somerset House looked, I was very pleased to be snug and warm in Speaker’s House welcoming nearly 100 MPs and Peers to our series of launch events in parliament. Guests heard from a range of high profile political speakers including Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg, Development Secretary Justine Greening (pictured above) and leader of the Opposition Ed Miliband as well as Douglas Alexander and a video message from the Prime Minister himself.
The 4 big IFs
So apart from a nice evening of chat and photos what does this all mean? Well it means that MPs are ready to work with us and their constituents to turn our IFs into whens; it means that we expect to see them standing up when it comes to the time of the Budget Statement in March to represent all those who are proud that this year the UK will meet its 0.7% aid commitments to the world’s poorest; and it means that many more MPs now know that fighting hunger is not just about aid – it is about tackling tax loopholes that
harm developing countries, stopping poor people losing their land, and increasing transparency.
So it’s a great start – but what is more exciting is where we go next! Sign up to the campaign and soon we’ll be in touch with what you can to do engage with your MP yourself.