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Norwich MP speaks out against mental health discrimination

PUBLISHED: 16:00 14 September 2012

Chloe Smith, Norwich North MP.

Chloe Smith, Norwich North MP.

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Norwich North MP Chloe Smith has spoken out against laws that unfairly discriminate against people with mental health issues.

The Mental Health (Discrimination) Bill received its second reading in the House of Commons today, during which Miss Smith praised the work of campaigners for mental health issues including Norwich Mind and Rethink Bridges and spoke for the government in her role as minister for political and constitutional reform.

The Bill repeals section 141 of the Mental Health Act, which sets out that an MP automatically loses their seat if detained under the Act for more than six months. It also amends similar discriminatory provisions in legislation concerning jurors and company directors. It is being led by Gavin Barwell MP as a Private Member’s Bill.

Miss Smith said: “We have broken down one area of discrimination in law against those who suffer from mental health conditions. I know how important this is from the work I do as a constituency MP, and I know how important it is to campaigners and individuals up and down the country.

“I am pleased to have been able to stand up and speak out on behalf of my constituents who have been affected in the past by the unfair discrimination that the current legislation allows. Norwich North MP Chloe Smith has spoken out against laws that unfairly discriminate against people with mental health issues.

“Speaking about mental health openly and honestly in Parliament shows that it is not taboo.

“This Bill says that people who suffer from mental health conditions are often able to recover and continue to be part of civic life. There are no second class citizens. I hope this Bill will help stop the stigma surrounding mental health.”

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