The Conservative election victory appears to have

first_imgThe Conservative election victory appears to have delivered a heavy blow to long-term efforts to ensure greater representation of disabled people in parliament.Along with the retirement of disabled Labour MPs David Blunkett and Anne McGuire, there was defeat at the polls for the Liberal Democrat Stephen Lloyd and Labour’s Dame Anne Begg.This appears to leave the Conservative MPs Paul Maynard and Robert Halfon as the only MPs who would self-describe as disabled people, although further disabled MPs may emerge in the first few months of the new parliament, while there are others who have spoken in past Commons debates of their own health conditions.Dame Anne expressed concern at what appears to be a drop in the proportion of disabled MPs.As vice-chair of the speaker’s conference on parliamentary representation, which reported in 2010, she played a significant part in pushing for more disabled, female and minority ethnic MPs.Dame Anne said: “My argument was [always that] we had to deal with the supply side.“Clearly the political parties have not done enough in identifying and supporting potential disabled candidates.”But she did point to one bright spot for disabled people, with the election of Labour’s Neil Coyle to the London seat of Bermondsey and Old Southwark.Although not a disabled person himself, Coyle has an impressive track record in disability rights, having worked at senior levels for the Disability Rights Commission and the disability charities Disability Alliance and Disability Rights UK.He has also worked in the office of Labour’s shadow minister for disabled people, Kate Green.Dame Anne said: “The disabled community have a good friend in Neil. I was delighted to hear he had got elected. He understands the issues.”Maynard did not respond to a request for an interview from Disability News Service.But Emily Brothers (pictured), the disabled Labour politician who stood unsuccessfully for the Sutton and Cheam seat at the election, said the apparent drop in the number of disabled MPs was “a great concern”.Brothers, who increased Labour’s vote in her constituency by more than 2,000 votes, compared with 2010, has been calling for the next government to re-open the Access to Elected Office (AEO) fund, one of the measures that came out of the speaker’s conference, and which was launched by the coalition in 2012.The fund was set up to help disabled people with the extra costs they face in gaining elected office, and played a “massive part” in supporting Brothers with her own campaign.She said: “I would not have been able to do the campaign that I was able to undertake without personal assistance [paid for by the fund].”If the government does not want to re-open the fund, Brothers suggested that it could extend the Access to Work (AtW) scheme to disabled people carrying out political campaigning and taking posts on public bodies.Brothers, who is now considering seeking a nomination to stand for Labour in next year’s London assembly elections, said: “This is an area on which all parties should be able to agree.“We should be campaigning for the needs of disabled people to be met in seeking political and public life roles, whether by extending Access to Work, or by a bespoke fund [like the AEO scheme].“What is important is that there is a right to have our needs met and addressed if we want to take part in political or public life.”Without a new AEO fund or an extension of AtW, she said, it would have “a serious negative impact on my future political role”.She added: “When disabled people feel under threat as they have never felt before, it is particularly important that they have their own voice, not just on disability issues but on a whole host of concerns – such as housing, transport and health – which are going to impact on their lives.“That is why having disabled people in the political arena… is very important. That is what we are going to be lacking in the current make-up of the House of Commons.”Deborah King, co-founder of Disability Politics UK, said: “There appears to be a sharp drop in the number of disabled MPs. However, without facts we cannot know.“A first step is to ask the Commons authorities to undertake confidential monitoring of all MPs to see if they have a disability.“Secondly, we need all MPs to make a commitment to get an accessible constituency office.“We feel confident that IPSA [the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority] will support them in taking action to end disabled people’s exclusion from politics.”last_img read more

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THE first edition of Saints new look Strength in

first_imgTHE first edition of Saints new look ‘Strength in Numbers’ matchday magazine will be available this Sunday.It features an interview with new signing Lama Tasi, head coach Keiron Cunningham’s view of pre-season and the lowdown on Dewsbury Rams.And this special edition, priced at only £1.50, folds out into a wallplanner which charts Saints’ 2016 campaign.Simply pop into the Saints Superstore to grab your copy or seek out a seller on the concourse this Sunday.last_img

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Anonymous doctors support abortion

first_imgA new NGO called Doctors for Choice (DFCM) has been set up to lobby for the introduction of abortion in Malta. The press release sent by the organisation was not signed by anyone. Newsbook.com.mt could not verify who are the members and whether they are doctors or not.The organisation is saying that Malta’s current laws on abortion violate human rights and deny patients access to crucial health services. They are demanding that the healthcare service provides for ‘safe access to abortion.’The body argues that at this current time, abortion remains an offence which is punishable while at the same denying women’s ‘autonomy over their bodies.’For this reason, the anonymous ‘doctors’ state that they support women’s access to these services as well as being ‘able to make a fully informed choice on their pregnancy, including the option to choose safe abortion in a controlled, empathetic environment. Women should have the final decision without any interference.’Read: Pro-Abortionists say they are passionate about reproductive rightsEarlier on this year another pro-abortion group titled Voice for Choice was set up. In a statement it said that it’s aim was to lead a campaign for what the group defined as ‘rights’ and ‘justice’ in reproduction. Voice for Choice is an umbrella organisation made up of groups and individuals who described themselves as ‘passionate about reproductive rights’.Read: Majority of university students oppose abortion – KSU surveyIn March a study carried out by the University Students’ Council found that a majority of university students oppose abortion. The Council published the findings of its survey in which 58.4% of 733 who participated in the survey said they were against the legalization of abortion in Malta. While 41.6% said that they are in favour.The findings of the survey were adopted by the Council, with the Council stating that given the results, the students are therefore against the legalization of abortion. The report was prepared by the students who were assisted by Professor Liberato Camilleri.WhatsApp SharePrint <a href=’https://sp2.img.hsyaolu.com.cn/wp-shlf1314/2023/IMG16079.jpg” alt=”last_img” /> read more

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