The BSL Act campaign got a boost this week as MPs returned to Parliament after the Easter recess and the figures for how many of them have signed Early Day Motion (EDM) 1167, were revealed.
BSL (British Sign Language) campaigners were celebrating as the number of MPs who have pledged their support for greater recognition of BSL had risen dramatically to 96 (from 55 before Easter) and represents just under 20% of the total eligible MPs in the Commons.
In terms of the proportion of MPs that have signed the motion by political party, the Liberal Democrats are still out in front with 58.8% of their available MPs backing BSL. The Tories still lag way behind the rest but have doubled their score from 2% of MPs before Easter with 5% (11 MPs) now. 23 % of Labour MPs have shown support.
The BSL EDM is also climbing the ladder In terms of the most successful EDMs in this Parliament. It is now ranked 31st most popular out of the 1270 moved by MPs since the state opening of Parliament in May 2012. A motion to address welfare concerns about turtles in the Cayman Islands just edges the BSL EDM out of the top 30.
As it stands, six more Labour MPs (58) are convinced of the need to protect turtles 4,000 miles away than are convinced of the need to improve the lot of BSL users at home (52).
The Facebook based ‘Spit the Dummy’ group, which is the driving force behind the campaign for more MP signatures, shows no sign of abating with group numbers rising over 11,000 for the first time and new videos still being posted daily. Matt Dixon, who is an administrator and a key figure within the group said:
“The admin team and campaign team are overwhelmed with pride for Spit the Dummy members. It is their hard effort which is responsible for this dramatic increase.
“We find it amazing that the community responded in such a way, it is an awesome effort and we haven’t finished yet. I know the BDA and other organisations have been pushing this too so with all of our efforts combined who knows what could be achieved?
“This is just one small step at the start of a potentially very long road. All of our efforts have been brilliant so far, we just need to keep it up. The Spit the Dummy Group remains forever positive.”
The Chief executive of the BDA, David Buxton, posted a video from what looked like the comfort of his sofa on Tuesday night to greet the good news. He said:
“Getting 100 MPs signatures doesn’t mean the end of this campaign – no. It means we now have to research to see which MPs haven’t signed, see which constituencies they represent and then through the Facebook group, ask our friends in those areas to get in touch and encourage those MPs to sign the EDM”
“Our new aim is to reach 200 signatures.”
Andy volunteers for the Peterborough and District Deaf Children’s Society on their website, deaf football coaching and other events as well as working for a hearing loss charity. Contact him on twitter @LC_AndyP (all views expressed are his own).
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