Published: 25 Jan 2016
Commenting in response to a group of cross-party MPs sending a letter to Government urging them to re-open a fund which gives disabled candidates help in standing for elected office, Lord Chris Holmes, Disability Commissioner at the Equality and Human Rights Commission, said:
'The Government should re-open the Access to Elected Office Fund and extend it across Britain to remove the barrier of extra costs disabled people face when standing for political office. We made this call last year and are pleased that it is being supported by MPs. Twenty years on from the first Disability Discrimination Act, progress towards ensuring disabled people’s equal participation in political life to date has been disappointingly slow and may even have gone backwards. It is also disappointing that there continues to be an information black hole about the number of disabled people in politics – we want the Government to implement the measures Parliament agreed in 2010 to improve transparency on this issue. Efforts to support disabled people seeking a role in political life should be redoubled to ensure their voices are heard and they are not excluded from the political arena.'
Notes to editors
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This issue is included in the Commission’s response to the UN Special Rapporteur on Disabilities’ inquiry in to the right of disabled people to participate in political and public life.