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Trevor Phillips ‘Sickened’ By ‘Mockery’ Of Paul Maynard, MP With CP

February 6, 2011

Equalities chief Trevor Phillips has told the BBC he felt “physically sick” at reports that a Conservative MP with cerebral palsy was mocked by other MPs.

Paul Maynard told the Times Labour MPs had pulled faces at him in the Commons, saying he felt they were “taking the mick out of my disability”.

Mr Phillips told the BBC Speaker John Bercow should look into the matter.

Labour MP Tom Harris, who was not at the debate, has said no MP would attack someone for having a disability.

‘Exaggerated faces’

Mr Maynard – who was elected MP for Blackpool North and Cleveleys in May – describes his cerebral palsy as being “very mild” and not really affecting how he lives.

But he told the Times on Saturday that some MPs had been making “exaggerated gesticulations, really exaggerated faces” at him during a debate about the abolition of the child trust fund last year.

He added: “Only they know for certain whether they were taking the mick out of my disability. But it felt like it.”

Mr Phillips, head of the Equality and Human Rights Commission, told BBC One’s Andrew Marr Show: “He was obviously being mocked, according to his account, by other members of Parliament – that to me is shocking, I felt physically sick when I read about it.

“If that had happened in a football ground, the people mocking him would have been on CCTV, and they would have been whipped out of the ground and not let back.

“That’s one for the Speaker to look at as part of his drive to increase diversity.”

Labour MP Mr Harris told BBC Radio 5 Live on Saturday that no MP would have deliberately targeted someone over their disability.

He was not there but said he understood people were jeering until they realised there was “another issue”.

He said: “Nobody knew about Paul’s disability. If anyone did know about it and still made fun of him that is absolutely appalling and unforgivable.”

For once in my life, I completely agree with Trevor Phillips. I was shocked to read about this incident.

While I thank Tom Harris MP for sharing my shock, I don’t agree with his view that no one knew about Paul Maynard MP’s disability. His CP may be very mild, as is mine, but the fact he has CP was revealed to everyone when he first went to the Commons- even the public. I knew about it. So there’s no way MPs could not have known, and  I don’t think it’s fair for any MP to be able to get away with this by saying they didn’t know.

Of course this is something for the Speaker to look into. I hope he will look into it, and I hope that all MPs involved will be officially warned as a result of any investigation. This is the House of Commons, a place where many people dream of going. MPs need to be reminded that it is a place where their every move gets revealed to the public. It is not the playground of a mainstream school, and they should not be allowed to get away with treating it as if it is.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. Unhappy Constituent of Paul Maynards permalink
    February 9, 2011 4:01 pm

    Sorry but Paul Maynard is not as innocent an individual as he makes out. On the surface he can come across as pretending to be interested in the issues of his constituents. Deeper down this guy is arrogant and now seems prepared to use the disability card when the need arises. Shameful way to attack the opposition and the guy is an insult to UK politics. This comes from personal experience.

    • Terry Moore permalink
      October 17, 2014 10:42 pm

      i totally agree…a really obnoxious man..i have also had dealings with this man

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