Labour List - Candidate Selection Round Up
Seeing my name in the recent Labour List raised mixed emotions. I'm proud to be included because it puts a Deaf/Disabled candidate in the List. At the moment there are only 1 per cent of Disabled MPs. We have never had an MP from the Deaf BSL community. My concerns are that that number will dwindle now the Access To Elected Office Fund, which traditionally paid for Disabled Candidates' access needs through selection to election has been frozen and kicked into the long grass by the current government. Standing without the support of the Access to Elected Office Fund is daunting and a substantial deficit for Disabled/Deaf candidates. I'm fortunate to have the support of Basingstoke CLP and the Labour Party.
This comes at a time when Disabled people are paying the price of austerity and sinking deeper and deeper into poverty due to cuts across the board and an inadequate benefits system, with many having nowhere to go except to take their own lives. The UN Rapporteur, Professor Philip Alson, wrote in his report that Disabled people were "some of the hardest hit by austerity measures." Also that the UK Government's policies breached the principal of non-discrimination enshrined in international law.
With the current Conservative Government in denial and rejecting these findings, saying that Britain is one of the happiest places to live, we have to fight to not only to challenge and change this Government but to give Disabled/Deaf people a voice in Parliament. This is a key issue in my campaign.
As Tony Benn said, "I think progress is made by two flames that have always been burning in the human heart. The flame of anger against injustice and the flame of hope that you can build a better world."