Candidates or their canvassers may come to your door, call by telephone or stop you in the street to ask how you intend to vote. This presents an ideal opportunity to find out where the candidate stands on key moral issues. His or her opinions on these issues can be quite different from the position of their party.
More than at any other time the candidates will be open to listening to your views. Should they be elected, they will be representing you in Parliament. In ‘safe seats’, where the party of your current MP is expected to win, raising issues with candidates could have an even greater influence than your vote.
The Christian Institute has produced a handy-sized candidate QuestionCard (we can post you copies – just contact our office). Think through two or three issues and have the QuestionCard ready in case canvassers call or stop you whilst out shopping. Limit yourself to two or three issues with which you are most concerned. Be prepared to give a reason for your view. This Election Briefing will help you get to grips with the issues you are interested in.
If you speak to the candidate, ask if he or she is willing to raise your concerns in Parliament if elected. If they say they will, you can hold them to this promise should they be elected.
If you speak to someone canvassing on behalf of the candidate, ask for your concerns to be passed on. The very act of asking questions is a Christian witness.
You can contact your candidates by letter, email or social media in order to raise your concerns. This way you can be sure that all the candidates have been made aware of the issues important to you. Many candidates are active on social media.
For contact information about candidates, use this website: yournextmp.com
Election literature put through your letterbox will also give the local addresses for your candidates. If your MP is standing again you may want to see how he or she has voted in the past, since this is a matter of public record (see The Christian Institute’s website – christian.org.uk/election). If you contact a candidate, keep things short, but do raise specific points. Make sure you tell them that you are a constituent. You could swap notes with other Christian friends who have had contact with a candidate.
There are many ways of being a Christian citizen, but a General Election provides an excellent opportunity for Christians to be salt and light in our society. We must pray for wisdom and speak out for the truth.