‘Proud’ city group celebrates passing of ‘world-first’ legislation giving people with Down syndrome a voice

A PORTSMOUTH Down syndrome group is ‘excited, proud, tired and really optimistic for the future’ as members celebrate the passing of a world-first piece of legislation.

Monday, 4th April 2022, 10:59 am
Updated Monday, 4th April 2022, 11:00 am

The historic Down syndrome bill was passed unanimously through its third reading in the House of Lords on Friday.

Now that the bill has completed all the parliamentary stages in both the House of Commons and the House of Lords, it is ready to receive Royal Assent.

This means that the Queen will formally agree to make the bill into law as an Act of Parliament.

The founding officers of NDSPG celebrate World Down Syndrome Day two weeks ago at the House of Commons. Picture: Emily Turner

This is expected to take place this week.

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Rachael and Ken Ross and co-chairs of the Portsmouth Down Syndrome Association and founding officers for the National Down Syndrome Policy Group, which supports people with the learning disability to have a say in the formation of policy in matters that impact their lives.

The group has been working with MP Dr Liam Fox, who introduced the bill as his Private Member’s Bill.

The bill, which focuses on improving the lives of those with Down syndrome, is co-sponsored by cross-party MPs and politicians from across the political divide.

Ken, who said that the bill is ‘imminently going to become law’, added: ‘Everything went really well and the bill passed unanimously through its third reading in the House of Lords.

‘England will be the first country in the world to legislate in this way.

‘We are very excited, proud, tired and really optimistic for the future.’

The bill will require the publication of guidance on the specific needs of those with the condition and provide ‘lifelong’ support for the community.

In a Facebook post, Portsmouth Down Syndrome Association said: ‘We were privileged to witness its final stage through the UK House of Lords today where once again it was unanimously passed.

‘A world first piece of legislation, where people with Down syndrome will finally have recognition.

‘Thanks to the tireless work of Dr Liam Fox MP and his team and our working partners in the NDSPG for getting us here, but special thanks goes to the whole community for pulling together and using their voice to secure legislation that is long overdue.

‘An incredible day to remember, let’s help make this a huge success.’

A message from the Editor, Mark Waldron

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