Cllr Stephen Green, a 47 year old with Down’s Syndrome was elected last week to Nuthall Parish Council. It is believed that he is the first councillor in the UK to have Down’s Syndrome.
His election is a welcome development as people with disabilities continue to be under-represented in politics.
People who self identify as disabled constitute about 20% of the population and approximately 15% of the working age population. Despite this, according to a Parliamentary submission by Scope, they make only 5% of public appointments.
The barriers that prevent disabled people getting involved in public life are reduced at a local level but are not altogether removed. 13.3% of councillors for example are disabled. It should be no surprise then to see Stephen elected onto a Parish Council. How long will we have to wait to see an MP or MEP with Down’s Syndrome?
Are we surprised that we have so few disabled MPs when ae incumbent act like this?
Scope provides some resources for anyone with disabilities who is thinking of standing for public office.