Two parishioners from Southwark, David Murray and Thomas Kimaru, have spoken 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 CAFOD travelled from across the country to meet with MPs from different political parties at Speaker’s House in Parliament. David and Thomas met with MPs to speak to the politicians about maintaining commitments to supporting people living in poverty through UK aid and action to tackle climate change.
David said: “We have to make sure that when we make trade deals, there is not a trade off with climate change. We have to make sure that the aid budget is not watered down and make sure that we are the ones holding the government in power to account.
“I have written and also spoken to my MP, Liberal Democrat Tom Brake, many times about the climate and the importance of the aid budget, both of which I believe he is in favour of protecting.”
Thomas added: “I have been giving money to charity for over ten years, but I think campaigning for charities is worth so much more. Time is so precious and it is the little things you do that can make a massive difference.
“It was so great to meet with MPs tonight and speak about the effects and impacts of international aid around the world.”
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, very, 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 at 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.”