Brexit Would ‘Dim The Promise Of The Paralympic Flame’
Sir, Four years ago Britain marvelled at the Paralympic Games in London. This summer, as we hand over the torch to Rio, we should feel confident that the rights and opportunities of disabled people are hardwired into our national life. Sadly, we do not believe that the Brexit campaign shares this commitment.
Boris Johnson may make light of European Union law and regulations, peddling myths about bunches of bananas, yet one person’s “red-tape” is another’s protection of their fundamental rights.
We have Britain’s membership of the EU to thank not just for steps forward in disabled-people’s rights and opportunities but also in relation to the prohibition of age discrimination, maternity rights, equal pay and ensuring our safety at work. We are all protected and our lives made better by the EU’s laws and regulations.
What the Leave campaign promises is a bonfire of these hard-won rights, unravelling decades of progress that would not have been made were it not for Britain’s membership of the European Union.
A post-Brexit Britain would be one in which it would be far harder for disabled people to secure jobs, to travel freely and to access and consume products and services on and offline. After many years of progress, disabled people will be banished to the margins of British life once more. Placing such limits on the horizons of current and future generations of disabled people would seriously damage Britain’s long-term prosperity and competitiveness.
Britain leaving the EU would dim, if not extinguish altogether, the promise of the Paralympic flame, which burnt so brightly for disabled people’s inclusion and equal life chances in the future. We call on all those who wish to avert this fate to vote Remain on June 23.
Baroness Campbell of Surbiton, Commissioner of the Equality and Human Rights Commission 2006- 2008; Baroness Grey-Thompson of Eaglescliffe, politician and athlete; Debbie Abrahams MP, Shadow Minister for Disabled People; Baroness Brinton, president Liberal Democrats; Baroness Thomas of Winchester