Communication Support Bill due in Parliament tomorrow – but will MPs have the time to debate it?

Posted on October 24, 2013


Tomorrow, Sir Malcolm Bruce’s Communication Support (Deafness Bill) is due to be debated in Parliament. Friday’s session is devoted entirely to Private Member’s Bills (PMB) and Sir Malcolm’s is third on the list. It could make it if MPs get cracking on the first two.

Realistically, the other two Bills will have to have been debated and voted on by lunchtime to give Sir Malcolm’s Bill a chance of making it. The Speaker will have to call a vote by 2:45pm at the latest.

If not, its bye-bye Communication Support Bill. Last Friday, rather controversially, a PMB on drug-driving that was second on the order paper, ran out of time after being ‘talked out’ by an MP that didn’t agree with the Bill being proposed. Graham Evans MP introduced the Bill which had some Home Office support but it didn’t include testing for cannabis.

One MP thought that was wrong and was on his feet for half-an-hour so that the time ran out, even though MPs around him were appealing for him to hurry up.

Assuming that Sir Malcolm’s Bill has no opposition willing to talk it out of time, there is a chance, albeit a slim one, that the Bill could live to see another day.

If it doesn’t, then the campaign for better rights to communication for deaf people will surely continue outside of the House with the focus likely directed at the Minister for Disabled People, Mike Penning. Mr Penning is deaf in one ear and is apparently sympathetic to the aims of the Sir Malcolm’s Bill.

By Andy Palmer, Deputy Editor

Phonak: innovative technology and products in hearing acoustics. Deaf Umbrella: sign language interpreting and communications support. 121 Captionscaptioning and speech-to-text services. Signworld: online BSL learning and teaching materials. STAGETEXT: theatre captioning. Ai-Live: Live captions and transcripts. Krazy Katvisual theatre with BSL. SignHealth: healthcare support for Deaf people. Deafinitely Theatre: theatre from a Deaf perspective. Lipspeaker UK: specialist lipspeaking support. SDHH: Deaf television programmes online. Sign Solutions:, language and learning. Lexicon Signstream: BSL interpreting and communication services. Action Deafness Communications: sign language and Red Dot online video interpreting.Hamilton Lodge School in Brighton: education for Deaf children. RAD Deaf Law Centre: and legal advice for Deaf people.

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