Campaign to get more disabled Scots into politics

Disabled politics web

Inclusion Scotland has said that action is needed to ensure that disabled people stand for election

16th April 2018 by Gareth Jones 0 Comments

Political parties need to do more to help make politics accessible for disabled people.

Inclusion Scotland has said that action is needed to ensure that disabled people are fully active in politics, including standing as election candidates.

Working with disabled activists from political parties and other backgrounds, the charity is developing a new Access to Politics Charter, which aims to address the barriers preventing disabled people from becoming involved in politics.

Building on its experience delivering the Scottish Government’s Access to Elected Office Fund during last year’s local council elections, Inclusion Scotland held an event in February where over 50 disabled activists began the process of creating a list of solutions to problems faced by disabled people getting into politics.

“Disabled people are often hugely discouraged from putting themselves forward for elected office due to perceptions that they will be unable to meet the expectations of the role,” said Phyl Meyer, Inclusion Scotland’s employability and civic participation manager.

“These fears are often based on barriers to participation, rather than a person’s suitability for the position. The charter will aim to eliminate these obstacles.”

The charter will commit political parties to providing clear guidance on how they will support disabled people’s participation. This could include alternative means of participation such as remote voting, and exploring ways to ensure the election of a representative number of disabled candidates.

Party leaders and MSPs will be invited to sign the charter at the Scottish Parliament in June, at an event sponsored by Presiding Officer, Ken Macintosh MSP.

The findings from the February event also informed Inclusion Scotland’s recent submission to the Scottish Government’s consultation on electoral reform.