Disabled councillor faced ‘nightmare’ when attempting to gain parliamentary selection

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A disabled councillor in Waltham Forest, London, has spoken of the major challenges she experienced when attempting to win selection as a parliamentary candidate.

Marie Pye, the former Head of Public Sector Delivery at the Disability Rights Commission  spoke of her positive experiences as a local Labour councillor, but the ‘absolute nightmare’ she faced when she attempted to secure her place in parliament.

Ms Pye’s experiences of intrusive questioning about her condition her walking aids and her ability to do the job were shared with others at an All Party Parliamentary Group meeting on Disability- which was held shortly after the government announced a strategy for outstanding individuals from underrepresented groups.

The programme will offer mentoring, training, shadowing MPs and money to overcome access barriers by funding adjustments such as taxis and BSL-interpreters.10 per cent of those selected would be disabled people.

Increased costs and a lack of understanding are just some barriers that individuals face when attempting to run for office.

The government have allocated a £1million a year package to alleviate some of the additional disability related costs when attempting to run for office.

Anne McGuire, the co-chair of the All Party Parliamentary Disability Group and a former Labour minister for disabled people said:

 We need to raise our game. It is still not good enough. People are facing too many barriers.

What do you think? Would you ‘run’ for office or apply for the mentoring and training? Have the government promoted the scheme enough? Would love to hear from you.


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