The Electoral Commission has supported all three of the UK’s Governments to develop funds to support access to elected office for candidates with disabilities. It provides guidance to candidates with disabilities about how to stand for election and how the spending rules apply to costs reasonably attributable to their disability. More broadly, the commission works in partnership with a range of organisations to ensure that people with disabilities have the information and support they need to be able to register and vote in elections.
The proportion of politicians with disabilities still vastly lags behind that required to reflect our society, causing disadvantage and exclusion. The all-party parliamentary group for disability, which I chair, is undertaking an inquiry into the support required to ensure that people with disabilities have equal opportunity to stand for Parliament. Will the commissioners link with the APPG to support implementation of its findings?
The House will know of the work that the APPG has done across a range of disabilities, led by the hon. Lady, and is very respectful of the work that she and her team are doing. The commissioners are aware that the APPG will be undertaking this inquiry, and they assure me that not only will they help to inform that inquiry but that the inquiry will help to inform the commission with its outcome. Hopefully that will be a two-way process that will improve matters for people with disabilities in terms of their ability to stand for and participate in elections.