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Disabled former Labour election candidate Emily Brothers has launched a judicial review against the Conservative government’s decision to freeze the Access to Elected Office fund to create a ‘level playing field’ between able-bodied and non-able-bodied candidates.

Ms Brothers was the 2015 general election Labour candidate for Sutton and Cheam and for the Greater London Assembly in 2016. She serves on the Executive of the Fabian Society, Disability Labour and LGBT Labour.

This Writer has long believed that the Conservatives not only don’t want the non-able-bodied to take part in politics; they want to eliminate people with disabilities from society altogether.

The fact that this fund has been in limbo since 2015 tends to support my claim, wouldn’t you agree?

Here’s what Ms Brothers has to say:

It isn’t our impairments that disable us, but how society fails to include us.

That’s evidentially true in education, employment, transport and so on. Politics is no different from other spheres of life, as the system places barriers that disable us.

That’s why I have commenced judicial review proceedings against the Government.

Working across parties with the More United campaign, we placed this legal challenge to address the Government’s failure to evaluate and restore the Access to Elected Office Fund. The purpose of the £2.6 million Fund was to create a ‘level playing field’ between able-bodied and non-able-bodied candidates. It ran from 2012 to 2015, but was frozen and put under ‘review’.

The scheme provided funding to disabled people like myself, to meet the extra costs incurred by disability. It enabled us to contest selections and elections more fairly. The cost of standing for election is prohibitive for many, but for disabled people standing for election can be significantly higher.

The representation of disabled people in public and political life is woeful. Just five members of parliament openly identify as a disabled person. This falls well short of a representative proportion of the population which would look closer to 120 seats in the House of Commons.

Together with Liberal Democrat claimant, David Buxton, and Green claimant, Simeon Hart, I am calling on the Government to complete and publish the review of the Fund and re-open it without further delay.

Source: The government is removing disabled people’s access to politics by stealth | Left Foot Forward


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