The Rt Hon Dr Liam Fox MP was recently selected in a ballot of MPs to introduce a Bill on a subject of his choice in this Parliamentary session following the State Opening of Parliament by Her Majesty The Queen in May 2021.
Dr Fox has chosen to introduce a Down Syndrome Bill, which will be announced on the floor of the House of Commons later today and debated for Second Reading on Friday, 26th November 2021.
The Down Syndrome Bill will lead to the establishment of a National Strategy to improve provision and outcomes for all those living with Down syndrome in the UK. The Autism Act which became law in 2009 preceded the establishment of the National Strategy to help meet the needs of adults with autistic spectrum conditions in England.
The Down Syndrome Act will go further, identifying needs in all areas, for all individuals with Down syndrome across the whole of the UK.
The National Down Syndrome Policy Group, in coalition with the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Down Syndrome, has been lobbying for the long overdue Down Syndrome Act and have released a film featuring some of their Trustees who have Down syndrome, highlighting some of the areas where they hope to see positive change in the future.
Dr Liam Fox MP said:
“I am thrilled to bring forward a Bill to deal with the issues faced by those with Down syndrome. The full title is ‘A Bill to make provision about meeting the needs of persons with Down syndrome; to place a duty on local authorities to assess the likely social care needs of persons with Down syndrome and plan provision accordingly; and for connected purposes’.”
“My aim is to deal with three main areas. The first is to de-stigmatise Down syndrome and to re-educate both the public and professionals about the advances, including in life expectancy, that have occurred in recent decades. The second is to ensure that current provision of services is improved, whether provided by health, education or local services, by ensuring that providers give due consideration to those with Down syndrome when designing service provision. 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. By giving due thought to the issues today we can prevent avoidable human tragedies in the future.”
Actor and Trustee for the National Down Syndrome Policy Group (NDSPG) George Webster said:
“A Down Syndrome Act. Why didn’t we think of this before?! We are all very excited that Dr Liam Fox is sponsoring a Bill with the aim of improving the lives of people living with Down syndrome. I would like to see the Bill becoming law, then I think everyone like me with Down Syndrome will get better healthcare, more access to services and be more included in society. It is possible. It happens for some now, but it shouldn’t be a lottery.”
Peter Brackett, Chair of the NDSPG said:
"For too long the voice of the Down syndrome community has not been heard. We are delighted that the Down Syndrome Bill will enable engagement to secure and safeguard the rights and ambitions of the community across all aspects of society. Having lobbied hard for this opportunity, our group will be fully behind Dr Liam Fox and the Down Syndrome Bill on its journey through Parliament, in line with our aim of raising the profile of issues affecting people with Down syndrome, their families and carers.”
What are Private Members' Bills?
Private Members' Bills are Public Bills introduced by MPs and Lords who are not government ministers. As with other Public Bills their purpose is to change the law as it applies to the general population.
There are three ways in which a Member can table a Private Members' Bill, but Ballot Bills have the best chance of becoming law, as they get priority for the limited amount of debating time available.
The names of Members applying for a Bill are drawn in a ballot held at the beginning of the parliamentary session. 459 MPs entered the ballot and 20 were drawn. Normally, the first seven ballot Bills get a day's debate. Dr Fox was drawn in fourth place.
Notes to Editors:
- For more information, see the National Down Syndrome Policy Group website www.dspg.uk or email firstname.lastname@example.org
- For Media Interviews with Dr Fox please contact David Goss (email@example.com)
- For Media Interviews with the National Down Syndrome Policy Group please contact Ken & Rachael Ross MBE (firstname.lastname@example.org)
- People with Down syndrome who are trustees of the Down Syndrome Policy Group welcome the introduction of the Down Syndrome Bill: Launch of The Down Syndrome Bill - YouTube
- Line of Duty Star welcomes the launch of new APPG for Down syndrome https://www.heraldscotland.com/news/19295396.line-duty-star-tommy-jessop-backs-new-syndrome-all-party-parliamentary-group/