You may have noticed that there have been lots of powerful women visiting Parliament this week… Angela Merkel made an appearance yesterday, but I beat her to Westminster by a couple of days!
I didn’t get to address the two Houses but I did get to talk to MPs and Lords – though not both together, and not, thankfully, from behind a podium!
My dealings were much more informal - on Tuesday numerous MPs gave up their time to support us by signing a giant postcard advocating the consumer’s right to choose which we set up in a room just off Westminster Hall. We had a steady stream of MPs coming in to meet up – some of whom had already signed our Early Day Motion and others who have since put their name to it, taking our total to 85 MPs, putting it in the top 2% for support in this Parliament.
Everyone was saying ‘keep up the good work’ and that they agreed the campaign is so important, because people shouldn’t be disadvantaged if they are not on the internet, or do not want to run their affairs on the internet. You may be seeing the results where you live as many of the MPs took their own pictures for social media and to send out to their local papers acknowledging their support. A big thanks to all who came along.
I also met with a few members of the House of Lords later the same day, letting them know where we’re up to with the campaign, and thanking them for the support they have given us in the debates so far. I don’t know about Angela, but I managed to dodge the Parliamentary gift shop on the way out, though of course David Cameron may have given her the portcullis-crested jelly babies and playing cards as a gift on the way out.
The other thing which loomed large on the KMP horizon this week was a visit to the Financial Conduct Authority, where we shared our thoughts on the need for clearer regulation. With the Royal Bank of Scotland this week deciding that winning back consumer trust is the way forward, we hope they and other financial service providers will follow the example of Principality Building Society which this week adopted our pledge, giving its customers the assurance that they will not remove or charge for paper bills. I hope all the others are listening…