This blog post was written by Beck Smith, the Biochemical Society’s Head of Policy.
Proposed by Mark Lazarowicz (Labour and Co-operative MP for Edinburgh North and Leith), Early Day Motion (EDM) 707 provides an opportunity for us to engage our MPs and encourage them to show their support for science:
‘That this House expresses its concern over the recent comments by the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills apparently signalling retrenchment in Government funding for UK science; supports the view of the President of the Royal Society that short-term austerity risks undermining the UK’s future science base; notes that the United States, China, Germany and France are all significantly increasing their science budgets in the coming years as a central part of their strategies for long-term economic growth; and believes that investment in basic scientific research throughout the UK is vital if the commercial benefits of developing new technology are to be broadly spread, rather than restricting funding to a reduced number of institutions as the Government appears to propose.’
So, what is an early day motion?
An early day motion is a formal motion submitted for debate in the House of Commons. EDMs cover a plethora of concerns, yesterday alone saw the publication of EDMs on ‘Police protection for former Prime Ministers’, ‘Women’s Institute campaign on country of origin labelling for food’ and ‘Dolphin slaughter in Japan’ amongst others.
The significance of signatures?
The UK Parliament website tells us that ‘In an average session only six or seven EDMs reach over two hundred signatures. Around seventy or eighty get over one hundred signatures. The majority will attract only one or two signatures.’ EDMs with a large number of signatures are not more likely to be debated. However, a large number of signatures helps to achieve the other aims of EDMS, such as drawing attention to, and showing support for specific campaigns.
At the time of posting EDM 707 had eleven signatures:
Mark Lazarowicz (Proposer) – Labour and Co-operative MP for Edinburgh North and Leith
Peter Bottomley – Conservative MP for Worthing West
Alan Meale – Labour MP for Mansfield
Austin Mitchell – Labour MP for Great Grimsby
Mark Durkan – Social Democratic and Labour Party MP for Foyle
David Crausby – Labour MP for Bolton North East
John McDonnell – Labour MP for Hayes and Harlington
Tony Cunningham – Labour MP for Workingham
Graham Stringer – Labour MP for Blackley and Broughton and member of the Science and Technology Committee
Tom Blenkinsop – Labour MP for Middlesbrough South and East Cleveland
Valerie Vaz – Labour MP for Walsall South
Update: 10:15 16 September 2010
Elfyn Llwyd – Plaid Cymru MP for Meirionydd Nant Conwy
Alasdair McDonnell – Social Democratic and Labour Party MP for Belfast South
Gregory Campbell – Democratic Unionist Party MP for Londonderry Waterside & East Londonderry
Jim Cunningham – Labour Party MP for Coventry South
Andrew Gwynne – Labour Party MP for Denton and Reddish
Paul Blomfield – Labour Party MP for Sheffield Central
How do I get my MP to sign EDM 707?
1. Find your MP (search by postcode)
2. Contact your MP by phone, email or letter – tell them that you’re a member of his/her constituency and tell them why it’s important to that they sign EDM 707 and ask them to sign it.
How does an MP sign an EDM?
The most common way for an MP to sign an EDM is by tearing out pages from their copy of “Blues” (questions tabled during yesterday’s sitting for answer on future days appear in a separate blue section with its own numbering sequence within the Vote Bundle) and then signing below the chosen Motion/Motions.
These pages are then taken to the Table Office and the EDM is then reprinted in the next Notice Paper with the new names added.
More simply, MPs can give the Table Office the relevant number and ask for their name to be added.