|Politicians in the United Kingdom said that people with intellectual disabilities deserve more attention and inclusion.
In United Kingdom, 5 million people have an intellectual disability or have a family member with an intellectual disability.
5 million is a lot of people.
These people also have the right to vote.
So their voice really matters in elections.
This is one reason why the topic of intellectual disabilities is very important to politicians.
Mencap is an organization working with and for people with learning disabilities.
Mencap wants to guarantee that the next politicians in the United Kingdom will work to include people with intellectual disabilities in society.
With the British General Election coming up in May, political party leaders David Cameron, Nick Clegg and David Miliband have pledged to pay more attention to the voice and needs of the 1.4 million people with an intellectual disability in the UK.
The timing is most likely not a coincidence, as there are five million people of voting age in the UK who either have an intellectual disability themselves or who have a family member with a disability. Together this makes up for about 10% of the total electorate. Experts have stated that the result of this year’s General Election is impossible to predict. However, they have also said that it is very possible a learning disability vote will be the deciding factor on who will grasp the power in May.
The three high-profile politicians made several public statements. David Cameron drew from his own life experience as his son Ivan was born with an intellctual disability. On this topic, he said that dealing with his sons’ disability was “ike beginning a journey we never planned to take without a map, and we only coped thanks to the love and support of our friends and family as well as some incredible NHS and social services.”
Nick Clegg, Deputy Prime Minister and Leader of the Liberal Democrats stated during a Q&A event with people with an intellectual disability, organised by Inclusion Europe member Mencap, that “the only way to truly understand what shapes the lives of people who have a learning disability, is to listen to what they have to say.”
Ed Miliband, leader of the Labour Party, said that the views and ideas of people with a disability matter and play a vital role in British society, since disabled persons make up one in six of all UK citizens.
Concerning the General Elections, chief executive of Mencap Jan Tregelles, said “the political power of people with a learning disability and their families cannot be underestimated.” “If politicians ignore this, they could lose the election,” she added.
The politicians’ statements come in support of the Hear my voice campaign organized by Mencap. The project is meant to guarantee that the next government will tackle key issues faced by people with an intellectual disability and their families, and that voice and opinions are heard.
Our work brings the voice of people with intellectual disabilities and their families where decisions about their future are made.
This has always been incredibly important. It is even more so with the Covid pandemic drastic impact on their rights and lives.
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