Rugby MP Mark Pawsey (left) with Dr Liam Fox MP (centre) and members of the National Down Syndrome Policy Group ahead of the Bill being debated in Parliament
Rugby and Bulkington MP Mark Pawsey has joined MPs from across Parliament in supporting the new Down Syndrome Bill which passed it’s second reading in the House of Commons on Friday 26 November.
The Down Syndrome Bill has been introduced by the Rt Hon Dr Liam Fox MP as a Private Members’ Bill. Only twenty MPs each parliamentary session are drawn at random in the ballot for a Private Members Bill, making it a rare opportunity to introduce legislation on a particular topic. Dr Fox, a former NHS Doctor and GP, decided to use his opportunity to bring forward the ‘Down Syndrome Bill’ as his Private Members’ Bill.
As well as Mark and many of his Parliamentary colleagues, the Government has announced it will support the Down Syndrome Bill. This means the Down Syndrome Act 2022, once passed, will improve provision and outcomes for all those living with Down syndrome in England. This will encompass, amongst other areas, maternity care, education, health, social care and employment.
Mark met with both Dr Liam Fox and the National Down Syndrome Policy Group ahead of the Bill being debated last week to learn more about how this legislation will support many of the approximately 47,000 people in the UK who have Down syndrome. Mark also attended the debate and spoke about the work taking place in Rugby with local charity New Directions to provide support to local residents with Down syndrome.
Speaking after supporting the Down Syndrome Bill, Mark said:
“I was delighted to be able to support the Down Syndrome Bill in Parliament. For the first time people with Down syndrome are beginning to outlive their parents. If we do not make provisions for this then there will be evitable human tragedies. Not only does this Bill give us an opportunity to address this situation, but we can go much further ensuring those with Down syndrome can access Health, Education and Social Care services.”
“I also want to take this opportunity to pay tribute to the great work taking place at New Directions in Rugby, where they provide vital and life-changing support to many families here in Rugby, including those with Down syndrome. I have met with New Directions a number of times in order to understand their work and I hope that this new legislation will enable them to better help many in our community with Down syndrome.”
Dr Liam Fox, who sponsored the Down’s Syndrome Bill, added:
“I am thrilled to bring forward a Bill to deal with the issues faced by those with Down syndrome. My aim is to deal with three main areas. The first is to de-stigmatise Down syndrome. The second is to ensure that current provision of services is improved. The third is to look ahead and deal with future issues, such as long-term care, in an era where, for the first time, many of those with Down syndrome will outlive their parents.”