Croydon MP's mental health bill makes it into law
9:12am Friday 1st March 2013 in News
A Croydon MP is leading the way against mental health discrimination after having his bill made into law.
Gavin Barwell, MP for Croydon Central, has been praised by leading mental health organisations and politicians for his Mental Health Discrimination Bill.
The Bill, which passed into law on Thursday, puts an end to laws which prevent people with mental health problems participating in jury service and becoming or remaining a company director.
It also changes a law that says MPs will lose their seats if they are sectioned under the Mental Health Act for more than six months, even if they make a full recovery.
Mr Barwell, who was elected in 2010, was drawn fourth in the Private Members Bill in 2012. He addressed the House of Commons in June, explaining his bill for the first time.
The Croydon Central MP said he was very proud of the Bill but said more needed to be done to combat mental health discrimination.
He said: “To our shame, the law still discriminates against those with a mental health condition.
“As well as stopping this, the Bill sends a clear message from Parliament that discrimination is wrong: that people have a right to be judged as individuals, not labelled or stereotyped.
“I’m very proud that my Bill has become law, but in truth this is only the beginning. As a society we still have a long way to go to tackle the forms of discrimination and the inequalities that people with mental illness face.”
Paul Farmer, Chief Executive of Mind, the mental health charity, said it was an important day for those affected by mental illness.
He said: “We are a step closer today to achieving true equality for the one in four of us who have mental health problems.”
Paul Jenkins, CEO of the charity Rethink Mental Illness said it was absurd that millions of people had been excluded from key aspects of citizenship until now.
Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg also commended Gavin Barwell. The Liberal Democrat said it was right that these rules were wiped out.