Disabled People in Politics debate

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SNP MSP James Dornan led a debate on disabled people in politics on 17 September 2013.

A report by Independent Living in Scotland entitled "Politically (in)correct - representation of disabled people in Politics" is concerned that while society is increasingly diverse, representative bodies do not reflect that.

Whilst almost one in five people in Scotland are disabled very few elected officials identify themselves as having a disability.

in his motion, Mr Dornan highlighted the general lack of support for disabled people to participate in society, few role models for disabled people in political office and the physiology of political activities presenting barriers to participation.

SNP MSP Dennis Robertson said that in 2011 the Scottish Parliament had made history by electing him as its first blind person but it had taken four sessions to achieve this and "it had not been an easy journey".

Mr Robertson said every political party needed to up their game to get more disabled people involved in politics.

Labour MSP Siobhan McMahon said she was proud to be a member of the Scottish Parliament and to be a disabled person, but "neither defines me".

Ms McMahon highlighted the importance of role models to provide people to look up to in society.

Sport and Commonwealth Games Minister Shona Robison said role models could provide encouragement and support and called on all the political parties to work together to address underrepresentation of those with disabilities in political life.

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