MPs who suffer mental health problems will benefit from the government’s decision to back a Bill going through Parliament:
The Deputy Prime Minister announced that the Government is backing the Mental Health (Discrimination) Bill brought forward by Gavin Barwell MP, which receives Second Reading in the House of Commons today.
The Bill repeals section 141 of the Mental Health Act, which sets out that an MP automatically loses their seat if detained under the Act for more than six months. It also amends similar discriminatory provisions in legislation concerning jurors and company directors.
Meanwhile, another Police and Crime Commissioner candidate has had to stand down because of a past offence:
Labour’s candidate in Lincolnshire Phil Dilks has been forced to step down over an “offence” from 44 years ago. Here’s how Phil describes it:
“Some 44 years ago, I was one of a group of lads on scooters visiting a mate in hospital. I believe it was in the school summer holidays in 1968 when I was 16. As we left the car park to go home, one of the lads stupidly picked up an old crash helmet that wasn’t his. We all went back to my family home to mess about as teenagers do. Unknown to me, the helmet was left in our garage. The police never found out who took it, but because it was found in our garage, I was charged with handling stolen goods.”
At the time Phil was a sunday school teacher. He was backed up by the local vicar. Phil has probably not thought about the events of 1968 for quite some time. Since then he has been a TA soldier for almost 20 years, an elected councillor for 17 years and member of Lincolnshire Police Authority for almost eight years.
The extremely tight rules which are causing these problems are not a mistake or a decision that got little attention. In fact, they were the result of deliberate steps to introduce far tougher qualification rules than normal – steps called for by the police, boasted about by Conservatives and fully supported by Labour.