Party conferences are not the best way to lobby us, say MPs

A face-to-face meeting in Westminster works best, according to nfpSynergy research

Only about one in 10 parliamentarians thinks party conferences are a useful way for charities to lobby them, new research has found.

A poll of 150 MPs and 100 peers carried out by sector consultancy organisation nfpSynergy found that only 13 per cent of MPs and 9 per cent of peers rated contact at party conferences as one of the top three ways to influence them.

MPs said the most effective way of influencing them was through face-to-face meetings in Westminster, with 54 per cent choosing this method as one of their top three.

The research showed that about 30 per cent of Labour MPs and 18 per cent of Conservative MPs did not attend their own party conferences.

Just over a third of Conservative MPs who attended their party's conference last year said they were not impressed by any of the charities, pressure groups or voluntary organisations that they came into contact with, the report says.

Sarah Lincoln, the researcher responsible for the report at nfpSynergy, said: "Conferences are often hectic occasions and politicians themselves are often very busy. A significant proportion of MPs don't even bother attending.

"If charities want to lobby MPs, they should adopt tactics other than going to the conferences."

However, many charities contacted by Third Sector made it clear that their targets at conferences were activists, ministers and shadow ministers rather than MPs.

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