Changes to electoral law passed this week will help disabled candidates

An order passed by the House of Lords this week will mean that expenses reasonably attributable to a candidates’ disability will no longer count towards their election expenses.

The Minister, Lord Young of Cookham, told the Lords:

Examples of such expenses include, but are not limited to, British Sign Language interpretation for hearing-impaired candidates, the transcription of campaign material into braille for visually impaired candidates and specialist equipment. This order will also exclude expenses funded from grants provided through the Government’s interim EnAble Fund for Elected Office from electoral spending limits. This £250,000 interim fund will support disabled candidates and help cover disability-related expenses that people might face when seeking elected office, such as those I have listed

Our John Shipley welcomed the proposal:

I thank the Minister for explaining this order and I want to record that I agree with it. It is entirely appropriate that any disability-related expenses in elections should be exempt from spending limits, on principle. That is because it helps disabled candidates to stand for election on equal terms with others. I noted the Minister’s comments about some objections that may have been raised on some of the details—but none is more important than the overall principle of equality of opportunity.

This order is in force now for the May elections.

But it isn’t any use to disabled candidates unless we actually help them with the costs of getting elected. 

If the Government is serious about getting more disabled people into elected office, they are going to have do put more than £250,000 into it. There are thousands of Council seats up for grabs. That £250k is not going to go very far. If you had one disabled candidate per parliamentary constituency, all 650 of them, and you consider that  BSL interpretation can cost £130 for half a day, you can see the problem. The previous Access to Elected Office fund at £2.5 million wasn’t enough.

If we are truly serious about making our Parliament more diverse, we need to put the cash in to help people to stand.

 

* Caron Lindsay is Editor of Liberal Democrat Voice and blogs at Caron's Musings

Read more by or more about or .
This entry was posted in Op-eds.
Advert

One Comment

  • Richard Underhill 16th Feb '19 - 9:54am

    Stephen Lloyd https://stephenlloyd.org.uk/en/ might be a beneficiary.
    He did not resign his party membership and will work with the Lib Dem council in Eastbourne.
    Perhaps the Brexit issue will be resolved by 2022.
    Apparently No 10 thinks so.

Post a Comment

Lib Dem Voice welcomes comments from everyone but we ask you to be polite, to be on topic and to be who you say you are. You can read our comments policy in full here. Please respect it and all readers of the site.

If you are a member of the party, you can have the Lib Dem Logo appear next to your comments to show this. You must be registered for our forum and can then login on this public site with the same username and password.

To have your photo next to your comment please signup your email address with Gravatar.

Your email is never published. Required fields are marked *

*
*
Please complete the name of this site, Liberal Democrat ...?

Advert



Recent Comments

  • User AvatarMichael 24th Mar - 11:57pm
    It is depressing how poor the likely candidates for leader are. I do not doubt Jo's commitment or integrity, but I just don't think her...
  • User AvatarGlenn 24th Mar - 11:21pm
    Helen Dudden, I get it. My roots are Jewish and Romany. We don't all see "Europe" as a big noble ideal. To my folks it...
  • User AvatarDavid-1 24th Mar - 10:04pm
    A sensible course of action (to the extent that anything can be sensible in nonsensical times) might be: 1. Revoke. 2. General election. 3. People's...
  • User AvatarEdwin Poultney 24th Mar - 9:58pm
    I don't think it matters who is in charge of the Conservative Party next week, none can be trusted to realistically consider siding with any...
  • User AvatarJayne Mansfield 24th Mar - 9:41pm
    @ Michael 1, @ David 1, Sorry, I thought you were an evidenced based party, My mistake.
  • User AvatarMichael 1 24th Mar - 9:40pm
    David-1 Hear! Hear! Very good post!