Why I missed yesterday’s vote in Commons, previous ones and future ones
Yesterday, I missed another Brexit vote. I know I owe my constituents an explanation for this - and previous - absences:
I have a slipped disc in my back, a torn bicep in my left arm and Cerebral Palsy in my right arm. I am forced into wearing a vest and elasticated shorts. My general mobility is laughable.
If it were not for my kind parents and staff helping out I would not even be able to get up from a chair. The Parliamentary estate would not allow me dressed like this, even if I could travel.
I am not sure if this is public knowledge but the House of Commons does not have to abide by The Equality Act. They have no interest in allowing disabled individuals to remotely vote. Pleas to The Speakers Office and Procedures Committee have fallen on deaf ears.
Restrictions on remote voting are under trial for maternity leave. It looks as though disabled individuals are being neglected in this.
A simple change to this rule: allowing immobile and disabled peoples to remotely vote in Commons would allow me to vote even when I am unable to attend Parliament. It would allow me - and future generations of MPs with disabilities - to give constituents the representation they deserve.
This sort of thing is a fact of life for many parents, children, adults and carers. I have campaigned and advocated for this since I was a teenager. Sadly, Ableism (prejudice and hatred against people with disabilities) and Neurophobia (prejudice and hatred against people with neurological and psychological disabilities) is still very common. It feels like nobody else cares but us lot who have (or love someone with) a disability.
They won’t make the adjustments I need to vote... yet.
I will continue to campaign for this adjustment. It's important that all people are allowed represent constituents in Parliament, even if they are unable to travel for long periods of time.
Jared O’Mara MP