Making politics accessible
Thursday 25 November 2010
Mencap attended a Westminster reception to promote accessible democracy for people with a disability
Six months on from the general election, disability all-party parliamentary groups (APPGs), including the APPG on learning disability, met with MPs to discuss how to make the democratic and political process more engaging for people with a disability.
The Speaker of the House of Commons John Bercow MP hosted the reception on Tuesday 23 November at the Speaker's House in the Palace of Westminster. He spoke of his own commitment to making parliament and democracy more accessible to disabled people.
Labour MP Anne Begg, who is a wheelchair user, also spoke of the challenges she has faced as an elected representative and the valuable contribution disabled people can make to our democracy.
Mencap spokesperson Ismail Kaji, who attended the reception said: "I really enjoyed the event because I could tell politicians why it is important that people with a learning disability use their vote at elections. It is also important for politicians to be accessible to people with a learning disability, by using clear language and producing materials in easy read so that we can be fully involved."
As part of its ‘Get my vote' campaign, Mencap doubled the number of people with a learning disability voting in the 2010 general election and ensured that the Labour, Conservative and Liberal Democrat parties produced easy read manifestos. In the run up to next year's referendum on changing the electoral system, Mencap is working with other disability charities to ensure that information is produced in accessible formats and that voters with a learning disability have the opportunity to participate.
This event coincided with the first UK Disability History Month, which runs from Monday 22 November to Wednesday 22 December. It aims to raise the profile of disabled people's rights and their struggle for equality now and in the past.
Find out more about the all-party parliamentary group on learning disability
Read more about Mencap's 'Get my vote' campaign
Find out more about UK Disability History Month