Miliband pressured to discipline Commons ‘bullies’

By staff

Charities are adding to calls for Labour leader Ed Miliband to take steps against MPs who allegedly mocked a disabled MP.

Paul Maynard, an MP with cerebral palsy, claimed at the weekend he had been put off while giving a speech in the Commons by Labour MPs pulling faces at him.

“Only they know for certain whether they were taking the mick out of my disability. But it felt like it,” the former speechwriter told the Times newspaper.

Equality and Human Rights Commission head Trevor Phillips said he felt “physically sick” upon reading the report.

“That’s one for the Speaker to look at as part of his drive to increase diversity,” he told BBC1’s The Andrew Marr Show.

Now charities are calling on the leader of the opposition, Mr Miliband, to investigate the matter further.

The Royal London Society for the Blind, which runs a school in Kent with pupils who suffer from cerebral palsy, said the hecklers brought the Commons into disrepute.

Chief executive Tom Pey said: “Mr Miliband must sanction the bullies, and the Commons as a whole should take action for what in effect is a hate crime taking place in the mother of parliaments.

“At the very least, they should be ‘named’ by the Speaker, and excluded from the House. But this is a time for Mr Miliband to show real leadership and make sure that Labour will not tolerate such cruel jibes.”

His comments followed those of disability charity Scope’s chief executive, who told the Guardian newspaper he viewed the MPs’ conduct as “disappointing”.

Richard Hawkes said: “We are delighted that the coalition government has supported Scope’s call for more support to help disabled people into public life. But the disappointing behaviour of some MPs in the House of Commons itself shows there is still a lot of work to be done.”