Down Syndrome Bill

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 1:06 pm on 4th February 2022.

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Photo of Siobhan Baillie Siobhan Baillie Conservative, Stroud 1:06 pm, 4th February 2022

I completely agree. Rhys earns £9 an hour—he is far richer than me, because he has no outgoings—but he enjoys his job and he feels fulfilled by it. Schools such as The Shrubberies in my patch do an awful lot of work to make sure that people go on to be work-ready, as do our colleges, such as SGS Stroud. Again, that is why the focus that the Bill will bring for the Government, local authorities, schools—everybody—is so important. We are thinking slightly differently, and I really welcome that.

I should be honest and say that I did not handle my sister’s being pregnant very well. I was still a teenager myself. I genuinely thought that, as a teenage mum, her life was completely over and she would not get to enjoy a lot of the things that I had enjoyed, but I could not have been more wrong. She definitely had a very different life from me in many respects, but I deeply regret my lack of understanding and some of the anger I felt on her behalf. It was unjustified and it was wrong, because Rhys was the best thing that happened to all of us in our family for so many reasons. But, boy, our learning curve has been so steep. I have seen my little sister battle for the understanding of people with Down syndrome.