Tag Archives: mental capacity act

Great news that the Mental Capacity Bill is set to pass final stages

I have been watching the progress of the Mental Capacity Bill closely. One of the reasons I, and many activists I’m sure, became involved in politics was because of our concern over mental health, the marginalised, and mental capacity issues. Indeed, my other half researches in this area, so I have an in-house expert on mental capacity and I’m well aware the law needs improving.

The Mental Capacity (Amendment) Bill as introduced in July 2017 was radically improved by the Liberal Democrats and is set to pass its final stages in Parliament before becoming law.

This is a very important piece of legislation which could apply to any of us. For example, if people are in care homes and are having to be locked in, protections are needed to make sure this deprivation of liberty is necessary for their safety and in accordance with their human rights.

This new piece of legislation aims to improve these protections for anyone who lacks capacity and may be deprived of liberty. It took the Liberal Democrats to lead a cross-party effort to force the Conservative Government to remove their exclusionary definition of the deprivation of liberty.

Our changes also included a commitment to review the Code of Practice.

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2 April 2019 – today’s press releases

Today’s press releases are brought to you from Antwerp, as your columnist enjoys possibly one last trip as an EU citizen…

  • Lib Dems table composite amendments to end Brexit impasse
  • Lib Dems: We must ensure all children receive an education that meets their needs
  • Lib Dems: Gisela Stuart Not Fit for FCO Wilton Park
  • Lib Dem victory on Mental Capacity Bill
  • Callous Tories could strip people of voting rights
  • Cable: PM piles more logs on the Brexit log jam

Lib Dems table composite amendments to end Brexit impasse

Today (2nd April) the Liberal Democrats are tabling amendments, working cross-party, to break the deadlock in Parliament by ensuring any Brexit voted through Parliament goes back to the people, with a People’s Vote.

The Liberal Democrats will table composite amendments to reflect Brexit motions voted on last night and the Prime Minister’s deal.

Liberal Democrat Brexit spokesperson Tom Brake said:

It is time for MPs to come together and build a majority to end the impasse. That is why Liberal Democrats are seeking to add a People’s Vote to any Brexit motions so that the deadlock in Parliament is broken and the people can decide on the path the country takes.

Liberal Democrats have been campaigning for a People’s Vote for nearly three years, always believing that the people, not politicians, must have the final say.

Adding a People’s Vote to any of the motions voted for last night or the PM’s deal provides the quickest and safest way out of this unholy mess.

Lib Dems: We must ensure all children receive an education that meets their needs

Following the announcement of Government proposals that will see a requirement for home-educated children to be registered with their local authority, affecting almost 60,000, Liberal Democrat Education spokesperson Layla Moran said:

Parents can decide to home school children for any number of reasons and most do a brilliant job. But undeniably, they need more support.

Yet councils cannot offer this support if they don’t know where children are. A child who has never been on the school roll may simply be unknown to the local authority.

If we want to ensure all families provide their children with an education that meets their needs, then these proposals are a welcome first step.

Lib Dems: Gisela Stuart Not Fit for FCO Wilton Park

Today Tom Brake MP, Liberal Democrat Brexit Spokesperson, has written to the Prime Minister to ask her to reconsider the suitability of Ms Stuart as Chair of Wilton Park, an Executive Agency of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.

This comes following Vote Leave’s decision to drop their challenge against the fine of £61,000 imposed on them by the Electoral Commission for spending offences during the 2016 EU referendum.

Commenting on his decision to write to May on the matter, Mr Brake said:

Ms Stuart was the Chair of a campaign that broke the law. She cannot now continue as head of Wilton Park: a body which promotes good governance across the world on behalf of the UK.

In any other job you would not stay in post if you risked bringing the organisation into disrepute, so why is the Foreign and Commonwealth Office any different? The Prime Minister must act.

Ms Stuart’s role as Chair of Vote Leave and her refusal to apologise for the campaign’s illegal activities make her position at Wilton Park completely untenable.

Liberal Democrats demand better. I have urged the Prime Minister to review Ms Stuart’s appointment in light of the revelations about Vote Leave. British Government appointments must always be spotless. It is not clear this appointment passes that test.

Lib Dem victory on Mental Capacity Bill

Today the House of Commons is debating the Mental Capacity Bill which now includes huge concessions the Liberal Democrats secured from the Government.

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12 February 2019 – today’s press releases

Digital exclusion shows Universal Credit not fit for purpose

Responding to reports that almost half a million people needed help to apply for the government’s flagship Universal Credit benefit online, DWP Spokesperson Christine Jardine said:

The Liberal Democrats raised the issue of digital exclusion with Conservative ministers months ago, but these concerns clearly haven’t been taken on board. This underlines the need to look again at Universal Credit, which is clearly not creating the simpler and more accessible benefits system that was intended.

It is failing the very people it was supposed to be designed to help. Now the Government has acknowledged

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My view on our conference motion to end discrimination in mental health care

The problem with conference is that it is impossible to get to everything! I was hoping to speak on Sunday morning in our debate on the policy motion entitled, “Ending Discrimination In Mental Health Provision”. Regular readers of LDV know that mental health policy is an area I feel strongly about, so I am gutted I can’t get there due to a conflict.

 So I’ll blog my speech instead…

Currently, in our country if you are someone without a mental disorder you have an absolute right to refuse medical treatment or refuse to be detained for medical purposes.

However, if you have a mental disorder or have learning difficulties you lose that right and can be detained and treated under the Mental Health Act 1983 without giving consent.

As the charity Mind has pointed out, anyone with capacity who does not have a mental disorder should not be involuntarily detained. Forcibly detaining someone based on disability is completely discriminatory and should be stopped. As this motion says in lines 17-18, such detentions are in breach of the UN Convention on the rights of Persons with Disabilities.

I am particularly concerned that the Mental Health Act 1983, as amended by the Mental Health Act 2007, justifies the involuntary detention of those with learning difficulties whose behaviour is “abnormally aggressive or seriously irresponsible”. Behaviours in those with learning difficulties often have unrelated causes (sensory overload, for example), so understanding the cause of such behaviour, and treating the underlying symptoms is what is needed, not involuntary detention.

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Paul Burstow MP writes: Let’s end this silent scandal

1,800 people with dementia are dying every year having been prescribed anti-psychotic drugs, and I am determined to end this silent scandal.

For more than a decade I have been campaigning to reduce the number of people whose lives are cut short thanks to the routine long-term prescribing of drugs by GPs. These drugs have sedative effects which makes it easier to ‘manage’ dementia patients. But they are effectively a chemical cosh which have side effects and can have devastating consequences.

Last year, as minister for care services, I set an ambitious target to reduce the number of patients routinely given anti-psychotic …

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If you want to understand modern government, understand the Office of the Public Guardian

The Office of the Public Guardian (OPG) neatly encapsulates much of how modern government is run, its weaknesses and the problems our democratic systems face in trying to control or improve bureaucracy.

The Office of the Public Guardian was created for the best of reasons following the 2005 Mental Capacity Act in order to administer a new Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) process by which people can lay down what should happen to them and who can make decisions for them if they lose the ability to decide for themselves.

Giving people more and clear control over their own lives is what government should do. Moreover, the OPG is, in theory, an accountable public body with annual reports, performance standards laid down by the Ministry of Justice and its operations open to questioning in Parliament.

But the reality of how it works also reveals the dark side of modern government.

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