Ban on MPs with mental ill health to end

The Westminster Government has backed a private member’s bill by Gavin Barwell MP which aims to end an antiquated law which means that MPs detained under the Mental Health Act for more than six months are stripped of their seat.

Mr Barwell told the Commons today: “The current law is both discriminatory and an ass.”

During today’s debate Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg said: “I am delighted to be able to support this private member’s bill which addresses a problem in the House of Commons – my own workplace.

“It’s ludicrous in this day and age that a person can’t contribute to public life if they’ve had issues with their mental health. Discrimination like this has no place in modern society and it is right that these rules are repealed.”

Paul Jenkins, chief executive of the charity Rethink Mental Illness, which has been campaigning for a change in the law, said: “I hope MPs will seize this historic opportunity to turn words into action by backing the bill and putting an end to these outdated and discriminatory laws.”

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