Ask an MP

We are inviting different communities and individuals from across the UK to ask how well-equipped Parliament is to understand and use scientific information. The role of Parliament and its MPs, of all parties, is to represent the issues of their constituents to government, and to scrutinise the government’s policy decisions and the evidence behind them. Brand new for Evidence Week in Westminster 2021 is our Ask an MP discussion board, providing you the chance to ask your MP about whether they’re challenging government for the evidence behind their decisions. Government produces policies on all issues from how to address mental health issues, to sustainable fishing practices or the allocation of new housing developments. It is important for you to be able to ask about the types of resources your MP is using to understand the current issues, and whether the government has the tools at its disposal to tackle the policies that matter to you.

Evidence Week will cover many topics including reaching Net Zero, improving employment prospects and digital twins of city infrastructure. But, we want you to ask about the issues that matter to you. We will be inviting a cross section of those who submit questions to attend our Opening Event taking place online on the evening of 1st November. This is a fantastic opportunity to directly put a question to your MP, alongside a panel of experts including the National Statistician and parliamentary committee chairs, to provide real answers to how Parliament and Government is using evidence.

Take a look at last year’s event here:

Don’t miss this fantastic opportunity to Ask an MP about the use of evidence on issues that matter to you. Feel free to become part of the conversation on twitter with #AskAnMP and #EvidenceWeek and share with your colleagues, friends and family to submit questions and help us in the aim of equipping our Parliament with the tools to tackle the challenges ahead.

Submit your question now, down below!

Example Questions

Bruce Taylor – allotment holder, Aberdeen South: The UK needs to grow more of its own food. Also physical and mental health were big issues even before Covid. How can MPs measure the health and environmental benefits of allotments compared to other uses of land?

Emma Braysher – Twickenham: How is the pandemic affecting our progress towards the net-zero carbon target and what is being done to make sure we are on track?

Abdullah Iqbal – Pendle: With the proportion of elderly people rising in Pendle and as older populations typically suffer more from mental health illnesses and brain diseases, how are you assessing the interventions and programs that can be put in place to tackle this problem?

Jalisa Lynch – Teacher, Birmingham, Edgbaston: Teacher retention is already really low with the evidence suggesting that most newly qualified teachers leave the profession in the first 5 years, how is parliament monitoring teacher health, satisfaction and well-being during the pandemic?

Submitted questions

  • There is a strong and expanding evidence base that obesity and overweight are driven by obesogenic environments, and therefore cannot be seen primarily as a matter of personal responsibility. The food system is also one of the primary culprits of climate change. The evidence also shows that fiscal interventions are effective at changing diets. Are you aware of this evidence, and are you willing to act on it, e.g. by supporting a subsidy on healthy and sustainable foods, like fresh fruits and vergetables, and/or a tax on unhealthy foods, e.g. food that is high in fat, salt and sugar or food like meat that has a large carbon footprint.
    Thijs Van Rens - Coventry
  • The global food system is currently set up in a way that increasingly harms human and planetary health. Numerous evidence-based recommendations have suggested establishing a target for reducing UK consumption of animal source foods; shifting us to plant-based diets that would improve human health and reduce environmental harm. How might you monitor the UK’s meat consumption and use evidence-based methods to reduce it?
    Oyinlola Oyebode - Leamington Spa
  • What evidence do politicians use to make statements around public/crowd behaviour? Many MPs have recently used the media to accuse the public of ‘panic buying’ petrol with a mob-like mentality, when the decision to buy fuel when there’s a supply shortage seems entirely rational. It appears that a few viral videos on social media led some to claim that the public were acting irrationaly. Such statements are not representative and evidence-led.
    James B - Manchester
  • Cognitive Stimulation Therapy has been proven in randomised trials to be an effective treatment for people with mild to moderate dementia.It increases cognition and quality of life and a further study showed it was more cost effective to deliver than not. How much more evidence does parliament need to ensure that all people living with dementia can access this treatment wherever they live in the UK?
    Laura Walker - Lostwithiel
  • During the last two decades there has been increased usage of the terms ‘evidence based policy’, ‘led by scientific evidence’, ‘listening to what the scientists say’. This is a three part question: * What does the term ‘evidence based policy’ mean to you? * How do you judge what sources of evidence to use * How should national Government nurture a better shared understanding of the terminology, its assessment, how it is used to shape policy (or not) and how are outcomes of its usage determined? Thanks
    Tim Wright - Birmingham
  • On the legal regulation of cannabis, a market worth £6 billion pa in the UK, there are no studies fom anywhere in the world that have produced evidence opposed to legal regulation but dozens that support the policy. Why do politicians flatly refuse to take notice of the science and instead rely on their personal opinions and prejudices?
    Peter Reynolds - London
  • As the UK is planning on building a demonstration nuclear fusion power plant in 2040. How will you assess and communicate to the public the risks associated with nuclear fusion waste?
    Alex - Sheffield
  • This BBC report demonstrates evidence of a persistent failing of the scientific community leadership in harnessing an inclusive and diverse talent pool based on merit and challenging all forms of barriers. The Covid response and recovery demonstrates the absolute need for diverse talent to be enabled at all levels. What enforceable measures will government take to ensure the UK science and academic research communities flourish, are a place for everyone to contribute, and that institutional and personal bias and outdated practices do not undermine progress towards a diverse and inclusive UK profession?
    T Kazmi - London
  • What redress should the public have against paid scientific advisors whose advice is badly and consistently wrong? E.g. Neil Ferguson of Imperial College
    Emma Harrington - High Wycombe
  • When making decisions based on evidence and science how much of that evidence should be disclosed to the public? For example, the NHS discloses that the over 65s Flu vaccine contains an additive to boost the immune system. It doesn’t disclose it is extracted from sharks liver. Presumably, because it might discourage take up. Is selective disclosure justified?
    Edward Chapman - Camborne
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