Tag Archives: disabled candidates

Support requirements for disabled candidates with complex needs

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While much has been made about the success the Liberal Democrats have had in getting more women and BAME activists approved and selected as Parliamentary Candidates in winnable seats, little, if any, progress has been made in the approval and selection of winnable Parliamentary Candidates with Disabilities who, because of the complex needs that many of them have, require a significant amount of support just to reach the same levels of attainment as their able-bodied counterparts.

From my own experience, as an approved candidate with a physical disability, part of the problem, I suspect, concerns the lingering worries that persist among many local party members over whether a person with a physical disability, like myself, could carry out the duties that would be expected of them as a Parliamentary Candidate, and later MP, should they get elected at the subsequent General Election.

These worries are only natural, especially if a local party has never had such a candidate stand for them before.  What though has to be realised is that any support will depend on the duties that a particular local party will expect that candidate to perform, which will only become apparent once they have been selected, and an agreed campaign plan has been formulated, that sets out their role and their relationship to the other roles on their campaign team.

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged | 5 Comments

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. 

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged | 1 Comment
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