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Ban on MPs with mental health issues to be axed

17th September 2012

Moves are under way which would allow people with serious mental health issues to become MPs, company directors and serve on juries.

houses of parliament

At present, people with such conditions are banned from serving in Parliament or holding some other key posts.

But now, the government has given its support to a private member’s bill by Tory MP Gavin Barwell, who’s Mental Health (Discrimination) Bill earlier received its second reading in the House of Commons.

At present, MPs detained under the Mental Health Act for more than six months lose their seat.

Croydon Central MP Mr Barwell told the Commons: “The current law is both discriminatory and an ass. My bill’s purpose is very simple: to tackle the last legal form of discrimination in our society. To our shame the law of the land still discriminates against those with a mental health condition.”

He said the law currently sends out the message to those with a mental health condition that their contribution to public life is not welcome but that was an "affront to decent civilised society".

The bill has been backed by mental health charities and the Royal College of Physicians and builds on the work of Lord Stevenson of Coddenham, who launched a similar bill in the House of Lords in the previous Parliamentary session.

Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg described the current situation as ludicrous and added: “Discrimination like this has no place in modern society and it is right that these rules are repealed.”

Labour is also backing the bill.

 

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