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Getting bill amendment to end indefinite detention

Client: Liberty

The problem:

The original EU Withdrawal Bill didn't include a 28-day detention time limit, and Liberty was calling for it to be added as part of cross party amendments before the final vote. But they needed to ge enough MPs supporting it for it to succeed.

The objective: MPs sign pledge

Liberty needed MPs to sign the “Immigration Detention 28-day time limit” pledge to support a detention limit in the lead up to a cross party amendments to the EU Withdrawal Bill.

Since MPs act based either on their own priorities or on the priorities of their constituents, having constituents contact MPs asking them to sign the pledge as a sign of support in the lead up to the proposed amendment. However as MPs now receive so much email, a postcards was seen to stand out more with MPs, even in smaller numbers than emails.

How PostBug was used

Liberty had limited budget for supporters to send free postcards. However it heard of others’ successes in giving a choice of sending for free or paying to send. So they ended up offering both options.

The message on the postcard was a story about a single detainee and the injustice of the situation, followed by the sender imploring MPs to sign the pledge.

Liberty emailed their supporters to send the card and mentioned both free sending and paid sending options. A few months later when Liberty had undergoing a brand refresh, the postcard image was updated to reflect the new brand and make another push to supporters.

Outcome: hundreds of postcards sent

More postcards were sent than the budget would have allowed because some supporters paid for their own sending cost: 154 free to send postcards were sent vs. 433 supporter paid postcards were sent.

Impact: 80 MPs supported amendment

In June 2019, over 80 MPs from all major parties supported an amendment to the Immigration and Social Security Coordination (EU Withdrawal) Bill calling for a 28-day time limit on immigration detention, to be considered during the Report Stage. This was the result of campaigning by a coalition of organisations and MPs, including the Liberty ‘end indefinite detention’ postcards via PostBug.

While the impact of any one element of a campaign is hard to separate out from the overall impact, we know from the other campaigns that MPs notice the postcards and letters and respond to them.

Liberty postcard: I wait with...

Liberty postcard: I wait with...