A who’s who of representatives of the UK’s deaf world will be meeting today at Portcullis House, Westminster, to try and find agreement on what should be in Sir Malcolm Bruce’s PMB (Private Members Bill).
Bruce’s name was drawn in a ballot of MPs to get the chance to put Bill before the House and he’s seeking agreement from leading deaf organisations or groups in the UK deaf community today about the content of the proposed Bill. The Bill needs to be drawn up before its due for its second reading in October.
Sir Malcolm’s good luck in the ballot followed his successful EDM (Early day motion) in February that got over 200 signatures from supportive MPs and triggered the biggest UK Deaf campaign since BSL was recognised a decade ago.
That EDM called for improved rights for BSL users but this Bill is aiming to be broader in scope and is aimed at improving communication rights for all deaf people, not just signers, through setting up an official body to look into the issue.
If successful, (although that seems unlikely) the Bill would be Sir Malcolm’s parting gift to the UK deaf community that he has often campaigned for since he was elected to Parliament 30 years ago.
It was announced yesterday that Sir Malcolm is standing down at the next election, leaving the Chairmanship of the All Party Committee on Deafness vacant.
At the meeting today:
Action on Hearing Loss – UK’s largest Charity representing deaf and hard of hearing people
British Deaf Association – Largest organisation in the UK run by Deaf people for Deaf people
Signature – Leading awarding body for BSL
Spit the Dummy and campaign for BSL Act – Facebook based group with over 10,000 members
Pardon? Group – Facebook based group with 1,200 members
Deaf Ex-Mainstreamers – Campaign group aimed at welfare of mainstream educated deaf children
Sense – National deaf-blind charity
NDCS – National Deaf Children’s Society
NADP – National Association of Deafened People
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