Feeds

What does your MP think about the price of eggs?

Find out with new MySociety site

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The people behind TheyWorkForYou.com and WritetoThem.com have launched a new site aimed at encouraging dialogue between the public and their MPs.

The idea behind HearFromYourMP.comis in line with much of the rest of MySociety's work, which in the words of the group's founder, Tom Steinberg, is to "unite in holy matrimony the British public with its MPs".

If people are interested in hearing their MPs views on life, the universe and everything, all they have to do is register on the site. As soon as 25 people from an MP's constituency have signed up, HearFromYourMP.com will email the MP asking them to get in touch.

The MP's message will be distributed by email to those who signed up. Steinberg stresses that the MP will not have access to the list, or to the names on the list. The site handles that side of things for them.

A copy of the MP's email will also be posted to a forum where any registered constituents will be able to post their own comments. The forums will be carefully moderated for abuse, and the site restricts the number of postings any one person can make in a day.

Although commenting will be restricted, the discussions will be viewable by anyone. Steinberg says the moderation is necessary to make MPs feel confident and comfortable about engaging with their constituents in a semi-public forum.

"We are very confident we can keep it high level and constructive," Tom Steinberg said at the launch in London yesterday. "Our mission statement is 'Don't be an arse'."

For Steinberg, the site is not about instant gratification, but more about the long haul. He anticipates that eventually it will to grow to the point where MPs will not be able to ignore the opportunity of engaging their constituents in discussion.

"MPs at some point will decide it makes no sense not to talk to a large portion of their electorate," he said.

Prior to the launch more than 5,500 people registered with the beta site, and 30 MPs went above their 25 registrants threshold. All of those were invite to take part in trials of the site. Of the eight who agreed, Steinberg says the idea has been met with "cautious approval". ®

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