Since I was elected in June 2017 I have taken the principled decision not to sign Early Day Motions (EDMs), and I will briefly explain why.
A lot of EDMs are raised on behalf of lobbyists or groups keen to show themselves as doing something, yet without actually putting the leg work in to achieve a result. Many are also flippant or items that could have been better covered in another format, rather than a motion costing taxpayers about £400 to administer.
Here are two example EDMs that are perfect examples.
- An MP wanted to congratulate their local football team on a win
- Another that wished good luck to the Home Nations in the Roller Derby Men’s World Cup
The most bizarre part is you do not actually even need to physically sign an EDM, you can just briefly nod when a colleague asks you in a corridor, “can I stick you down as supporting my latest EDM?”
All of this would not be a problem, but for the taxpayer picking up a substantial bill each month for the cost of processing the hundreds of EDMs submitted, which have justifiably been described as being little more than ‘parliamentary graffiti’. They cost around £400 for each EDM. This is not a good use of taxpayers’ money – your money – for something that will have no impact on Government policy anyway.
That’s because due to all the reasons above the Government does not waste Civil Service time (and therefore yet more of your money) responding to them or even acknowledging them. They also do not result in debates in Parliament or changes to decisions. Signing an EDM is actually viewed as a lazy way to be seen to do something by many MPs rather than pursuing a more effective option for the matter at hand.
If I want to put across an issue on behalf of a constituent, which I am always happy to do, I will write a letter, request a meeting or debate, submit a parliamentary question or speak to Ministerial colleagues in the voting lobby of the House of Commons. These are far more effective and direct ways of getting things done.