Liam Fox' Down's Syndrome Bill will benefit generations to come - Brian Wilson

Parents of sons and daughters with Down’s Syndrome should raise a glass to Dr Liam Fox MP who has used his Private Member’s Bill to introduce legislation which will enhance provision for people, like our own elder son, who were born with that condition.

Dr Liam Fox's Down Syndrome Bill would mean the establishment of a Down Syndrome Act  - the first of its kind in the world. PIC: Nick Ansell
Dr Liam Fox's Down Syndrome Bill would mean the establishment of a Down Syndrome Act - the first of its kind in the world. PIC: Nick Ansell

Private Member’s Bills capable of gaining cross-party support and Government backing are rare beasts and for Liam Fox to have used this opportunity in the interests of a small, and often stigmatised, group within society is praiseworthy indeed.

His Bill can only apply to England but one of its sponsors is Dr Lisa Cameron, SNP MP for East Kilbride, and I trust it will be emulated without delay at Holyrood. Perhaps this is something an interested MSP should check out with the relevant Scottish Minister.

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Dr Fox has drawn attention to the fact that people with Down’s are now routinely outliving their parents, which did not used to happen much. In these circumstances as in many others, they need rights to have their needs recognised and public authorities will now be under an obligation to respond.

In committing Government support to a piece of world-leading legislation, the UK health minister, Gillian Keegan, said: “Placing a statutory duty on relevant authorities to have due regard to the guidance ensures there is a level playing field for people with Down’s Syndrome …. In this way, the Bill will address the inequalities faced by people with Down’s Syndrome and lead to better life outcomes”.

That is not a lot to ask and will make a difference for generations to come.

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