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Disabled MPs from 3 parties take up More United's call

Published 20 April 2018

Last week More United launched a campaign to get the government to restore the Access to Elected Office Fund.

This Fund used to exist to help deaf and disabled candidates with the extra costs of standing for election, but in 2015 the government froze it and since then it's been "under review" and out of use. 

In just 10 days, thousands of people have signed the petition and shared the campaign on social media.

Motivated by this campaign, three disabled MPs from three different parties have come together to author a letter to the home office: they're urging the government to restore the Fund.

Conservative MP Robert Halfon, Labour MP Marsha de Cordova and Lib Dem MP Stephen Lloyd may disagree on many things, but on this issue they are united. And it's More United's campaign, driven by thousands of people like you, that inspired them to take action. 

Read the full text of the letter below.

Dear Home Secretary,

RE: Access to Elected Office Fund

We are writing to you as members of Parliament, cross party, with
disabilities ourselves, to ask the government to re-instate the Access to
Elected Office Fund. This fund of £2.6m was set up to provide support
for disabled candidates seeking election.

In the modern world it is only right that people with disabilities – of which
there are over 10 million in the UK – should be able to be electoral
candidates, but for many, the additional cost of campaigning with a
disability can be an insurmountable barrier. Be it a deaf candidate
needing a sign language interpreter, a blind person needing transport
assistance or a wheelchair user requiring specific access costs related
to meeting his or her potential constituents.

All of these are tasks you and us as MP’s are well used to conducting,
but for some disabled people, without appropriate financial support they
will never have the chance to stand as potential candidates in an
election.

We think this is wrong as it effectively bars many thousands of people
with disabilities the opportunity to represent their area, their own
opinions on key subject of the day, or to stand for a potential party they
wish to align themselves with.

We would ask you to reinstate the ‘Access to Elected Office Fund’ so
that disabled people can, where necessary, receive support to become
the outstanding representatives of the people we are sure many will turn
out to be.

We look forward to hearing from you.

With best wishes,

Stephen Lloyd MP for Eastbourne, Liberal Democrats

Robert Halfon MP for Harlow, Conservatives

Marsha De Cordova MP for Battersea, Labour