BBC BLOGS - The Ouch! Blog It's a disability thing
« Previous | Main | Next »

Fancy being an MP?

Post categories:

Vaughan | 11:43 UK time, Thursday, 13 November 2008

Well, now might be the time to think about it, especially if you're a disabled person (or female, or from an ethnic minority).

According to reports from both BBC News and The Guardian, a special committee of MPs, known as a 'Speaker's Conference', is going to examine ways of making the Commons more representative of the UK as a whole. Or, as The Guardian puts it, to try and improve the public perception that MPs are "a narrow, self-serving elite who bear no relation to the population as a whole". (Their words, not mine. I didn't say nuffink, awlroight?)

So what could it mean in real terms? Well, the idea of all-black and all-women shortlists for political parties looking for parliamentary candidates is one possibility. No mention of all-disabled shortlists, though. Hmm. However, such shortlists have proved controversial in the past, and there's a commonly held belief that a better way to increase the representation of minorities is to encourage and make it easier for them to get selected in the first place.

One of the subjects this conference is likely to debate, which is of course particularly important to potential candidates with disabilities, is access to Parliament itself. The Palace of Westminster - like many old buildings - isn't particularly well adapted to those of us who wheel, wobble or go about our business with the use of various mobility aids.

So, if you've ever thought of going into politics, there might just be a chance that it'll soon be a little easier to stick on a rosette (of whichever colour you fancy) and get out there on people's doorsteps asking them how they're going to vote.

The question is: would you want to be an MP?


  • Comment number 1.

    I think this is a good idea as disabled people have long been abandoned to posts such as these, and are not always presented with these kind of opportunities. I am sure that people like me would relish being an MP and are truly capable of dealing with all the responsibilities that come with it.

  • Comment number 2.

    Disgusting idea.

    Our MPs should be the best people for the job, end of story.

    Any attempt to shoe horn women, colour, religion or disability into it will be met by even further voter non-participation.

    It was wrong when Labour did it for Women and it would be wrong regardless of the distinction.

    If you as a disabled person wants to be an MP then do it the same way as everyone else through hard graft in the grass roots of the party and having the right qualities to make a difference.

  • Comment number 3.

    Though I should add that of course Parliament should be made accessible to all if it isn't already.

  • Comment number 4.

    If you're gonna be an MP being disabled shouldn't be a way in, If you think you can do the job better than anyone else then go for it, not because they need to fill quota's.

  • Comment number 5.

    Although I'm not sure about them being the best for the job. When I'm on one of my rants there's no stopping me


BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.