Hopes new disabled MPs will bring boost for accessibility projects

GOV Houses of ParliamentPhoto by Oli Scarff/Getty Images

The addition of three new disabled MPs in the House of Commons has been met with positivity across the disabled community which is hoping accessibility projects and agendas will now get more weight behind them.

The new intake of MPs after last week’s General Election means there are now five disabled MPs in the Commons.

Battersea Labour MP, Marsha de Cordova, who is registered blind and Sheffield Hallam Labour MP, Jared O’Mara, who has cerebral palsy and defeated former PM Nick Clegg, are both hoping to champion disability rights.

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Cordova pledged to lobby for improvements to accessibility in public places and on public transport.

Meanwhile, Liberal Democrat MP, Stephen Lloyd, who is deaf, returned after losing his seat in 2015. Conservative MPs Robert Halfon, who has cerebal palsy and osteoarthritis, and Paul Maynard, who also has cerebal palsy, were reelected.

Even so, Jamie Szymkowiak, founder of the One in Five campaign, for more disabled politicians, called the new intake “disappointing”. The five MPs amount to less than 1% of the parliament’s total membership.

“One in five of us self-identify as being disabled, which includes mental health, learning disabilities and long-term health conditions,” he told The Guardian. “The biggest barrier is the cost of standing for election and getting through the selection process.”

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