to consider repealing "discriminatory" mental health law
By Dave Jones
are to consider overturning law which bans people who have been
sectioned under mental health law from being an MP.
law originating from the 16th century bars anyone who has been detained
in psychiatric hospital from standing for parliament, even if they
have made a recovery.
all-party parliamentary group on mental health said the law - which
also bars “idiots” or "lunatics” from becoming
MPs - is discriminatory.
spokesman for the government's Ministry of Justice today confirmed
that ministers are to re-examine such laws.
government will consider with stakeholders whether old rules in
common law should be removed which may prevent a person who has
experienced mental health problems from standing or remaining as
a member of parliament," he said
are defined as those “incapable of gaining reason” and
lunatics as people only “capable of periods of lucidity”.
Common law bans such “lunatics” from standing as MPs
in “their non lucid intervals”.
month a Mind survey of 94 MPs, 100 Lords and 151 parliamentary staff
found 27% had experienced a mental health problem. But one in three
said stigma had stopped them being open about it.
Charity Rethink's chief executive Paul Jenkins claimed Mind's findings
represented an "affront to democracy"
and peers need to be free to bring their personal experiences to
their vital democratic role.
they are being gagged by the prejudice, ignorance and fear surrounding
mental illness," he said.
do you think? Email your comments on the above
article to the editor using the form below. Selected comments will
© 2001-7 Psychminded Limited. All
about this article