Anger over lack of inclusion

Siobhan McMahon
Siobhan McMahon

Central Scotland list MSP Siobhan McMahon has expressed her concern at the lack of disabled people in politics.

Ms McMahon, who herself has a disability, was speaking in Cathcart MSP James Dornan’s members business debate on disabled people in politics.

The debate followed independent living in Scotland’s report ‘Politically (in) correct-representation of disabled people in Politics’.

Ms McMahon spoke of her disappointment at the underrepresentation of disabled people in politics, and her pride at being both a disabled person and a member of the Scottish Parliament.

However, she also noted concern that so far no disabled person has been selected to represent Labour at the next general election, and wants increased transparency in selection procedures.

She said “It was great to be able to speak in this debate, although I find it depressing that in 2013 it’s something that still require serious action.

“I believe the whips in each parliamentary group should receive diversity training so they become more aware of the distinct needs of the individuals in their group and we become more inclusive in action and word.

“I welcome the announcement by Jackie Baillie that the Scottish Labour Party will establish a disabled members’ network to ensure there is a real focus on policies that meet the needs and aspirations of disabled people as well as actively encourage representation at every level of elected office.

“Labour has a proud history of equality and was the party which established the first Minister for Disabled People, a position I urge the Scottish Government to replicate.

“However, every political party is failing when it comes to this issue and we need to get our house in order.

“It is simply not good enough that significant barriers still exist to disabled people in politics and we need to work tirelessly to break these down.”