Author Archives: David Buxton

A new campaign to restore the political disability fund

I’m taking part in a campaign launched by the cross-party group More United today, to restore the fund that supports deaf and disabled people into political office and I’m asking you to join me by sharing this video and signing the petition here​​

This campaign matters a lot to me. And this is why.

I was the first deaf British Sign Language-user elected to public office, when I was elected as a London Borough councillor in 1990 and again as a District Borough Councillor in 2007.  From 1992, I lobbied Parliament and ministers to provide greater funding for candidates with disabilities. In 1997 and 2001, I stood for Parliament on a self-funded basis, raising money to pay for BSL interpreters and support in written English.

For the 2015 General Election, I obtained a grant of £40,000 from the Access to Elected Office Fund, which I used to participate in the Liberal Democrat candidate-selection process. But I could not have participated without the Fund’s support.

And​, last year,​ I was effectively barred from standing in the 2017 General Election because of the absence of the Fund.

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged and | 3 Comments

Our failure to improve diversity has driven people away

Should I support the diversity motion at the Liberal Democrat Spring Conference in York next week? My initial reaction is, yes, this is right, but it will be a hard decision to support something that will probably hurt many within the party.

I suspect some will argue the motion is not legal. I remember at conference many years ago when an all women shortlist motion was debated and lost. I saw highly respected women speaking against the motion because they believed local party members should choose the right candidate based on skills and experience. It seems things haven’t changed and we are still a long way from being a truly diverse party.

On a personal level, I had very high hopes for a good friend who is black, a very experienced community campaigner and politician and a strong supporter of diverse communities. However he was not selected in spite of having lived in the area for some time. It is people like him who have the potential to be a future leader who are not being given a chance. They selected a candidate who barely knew the area.

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged and | 22 Comments
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