Trevor Stockton, 77, travelled from Wolverhampton to Westminster to speak with MPs in Parliament to ensure the interests of the world’s poorest people will be kept in mind during the upcoming general election.
On Monday 24 April, sixty supporters of the aid agency CAFOD travelled from across the country to meet with MPs from different political parties at Speaker’s House in Parliament. Trevor Stockton met with the politicians to speak about maintaining commitments to supporting people living in poverty through UK aid and action to tackle climate change.
Trevor said: “I’ve been a CAFOD supporter since the 1960s, as I wanted to ensure the voice of the voiceless was heard, and that those who are disadvantaged are fully represented by MPs. It’s important to lobby our MPs so that they know about CAFOD’s work and our desire to bring about change, as MPs are the means by which we can do that.”
Commons Speaker the Rt Hon John Bercow MP told the reception:
“For my part, I always think the greatest moral challenge of our times is to try to do something about the gross crisis and disfiguring scar of global poverty. The fact that 1,000 million people around the world exist on less than a dollar a day and very large numbers of people besides exist on only moderately more than that is, frankly, a source not only of anxiety but of real shame to us all.”
The campaigners who attended the Parliamentary reception are CAFOD ‘MP Correspondents’, supporters who write to MPs on international development issues such as the impact of climate change and trade practices.
CAFOD is encouraging Catholics to ask election candidates to support UK commitments on tackling poverty overseas and climate change, as well as working to ensure that Britain remains an outward-looking and welcoming nation.
Neil Thorns, CAFOD’s Director of Advocacy, said:
“It is so great to see local constituents raising their voices before the general election and making their local political representatives aware of issues that are important to them.
“Pope Francis himself warns that people living in poverty can often be an ‘afterthought’ in political discussions and that’s why it’s so important that we remind candidates of the need to remain an outward-looking nation – one that cares for the interests of people in the world’s poorest communities.
“This is why the commitment to maintaining UK support for overseas aid is crucial for saving lives and pulling people out of poverty.”
Trevor added he felt it was important that ordinary people get involved in political processes. “My message to other people would be to get involved, go to hustings, go to any gatherings or parliamentary hustings. Test your candidate on the issues you care about. I did that at the last election and it was very telling.”