According to the Disability News Service, the Tory minister for disabilities, Penny Mordaunt, yesterday refused to reject a suggestion that disabled people should be forced into government institutions against their will.
Mordaunt was answering questions put to her by the activist group Disability United, and asked specifically what she and the Conservative government would do to protect the disabled from “forced institutionalisation”.
Far from ruling it out, the Tory minister seemed to defend the proposal:
“The decision about whether to institutionalise somebody against their will is rightly a matter for medical professionals, and decisions should be made on the grounds of individual safety and health.”
Disabled researcher and writer Dr Jenny Morris was a leading figure behind the former Labour government’s 2008 ‘Independent Living’ strategy. She described Mordaunt as wholly “dodging the issue”, stating even the question was:
completely unacceptable in a modern society.
Fleur Perry, a representative of Disability United, produced research earlier this year demonstrating how NHS care trusts had:
quietly introduced policies that could see disabled people with complex healthcare needs shunted into residential or nursing homes against their wishes as a cost-saving measure.
A distinct lack of awareness
Dr Morris added that Mordaunt showed “a distinct lack of awareness” of the challenges faced by disabled people today, particularly since the cancellation of the Independent Living Fund in 2015.
Not only that, but the right to independent living is only protected under the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. In Brexit Britain, or more specifically, a Tory Brexit Britain, outside the rule of EU law, those rights may well be cast aside. In fact, judging from this Tory government’s previous persecution of the disabled (under the relatively ‘liberal’ faces of Cameron and Osborne, let alone Malevolent May), the erosion of these rights might even seem predictable.