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Tory MSP calls for support for Bill to create Disability Commissioner

The Bill requires support from at least 18 MSPs of different parties to be debated at Holyrood (Jane Barlow/PA)
The Bill requires support from at least 18 MSPs of different parties to be debated at Holyrood (Jane Barlow/PA)

An MSP is urging colleagues to support his Bill to create an independent Disability Commissioner.

Tory Jeremy Balfour lodged the Disability Commissioner (Scotland) Bill in Parliament on Tuesday.

But the legislation will need support from across the chamber before it can be taken forward.

Under parliamentary rules, 18 MSPs from at least two parties must support the Bill before it can be debated.

Jeremy Balfour
Jeremy Balfour lodged the Bill at Holyrood on Tuesday (Russell Cheyne/PA)

The new position would act similarly to the Children and Young People’s Commissioner in protecting the rights of people living with disabilities, the MSP said.

“We must do more to support disabled people across Scotland – and that’s why we need a Disability Commissioner,” Mr Balfour said.

“I’d like to thank everyone who took the time to respond to my proposals during the consultation stage – and for their positive feedback.

“The Covid pandemic highlighted the major inequalities still being faced by disabled Scots.

“An independent commissioner would give people with disabilities someone to turn to for support, safe in the knowledge that they were dedicated to promoting and safeguarding their rights.

“The next target is to have the Bill debated in the Scottish Parliament – and to achieve that I’m looking to secure cross-party support from as many MSPs as possible.

“The needs of our disabled people have been neglected for far too long but I hope that the establishment of a Disability Commissioner will go a long way to righting that wrong.”