Scottish disability campaign criticises appointment of non-disabled MP as Westminster group chair


One in Five campaign criticises decision to appoint SNP’s Dr Lisa Cameron after over four decades of disabled chairs or co-chairs

THE SCOTTISH One in Five campaign has criticised the appointment of a non-disabled MP, Dr Lisa Cameron, as chair of Westminster’s all-party parliamentary disability group.

The SNP MP for East Kilbride, Strathaven and Lesmahagow was appointed to the role after the small number of disabled MPs in the Commons asked to consider taking the role turned it down, according to the previous chair Baroness Campbell.

Neither the chair nor the present co-chair are disabled, for the first time since the group was established almost half a century ago.

A One in Five spokesperson said: “The fact that this is the first time in its near 50-year history that the all party parliamentary disability group is being chaired by a non-disabled person highlights how under represented disabled people are.

“We hope the group addresses the under representation of disabled people in parliament and have proposed that they sign up to our campaign and support our calls for every Westminster based party to sign the One in Five charter .”

The shortcoming in finding suitable disabled parliamentarians for the posts is likely due to new rules introduced in May which debar members of the House of Lords from chairing the group. This move has significantly reduced the number of disabled candidates for the position.

Quoted in the Disability News Service , Philip Connolly, policy and development manager for Disability Rights UK said: “It is a fact that many of the decisions about disabled people are made by non-disabled people. Many non-disabled people have made many helpful decisions about the welfare and opportunities available to disabled people.”

The group was established by Jack Ashley, the first ever deaf MP, in 1969.

Picture courtesy of rockinpaddy