Episode
May 22, 2017

Are the rights of Britain's disabled disappearing?

Activists hope to bring awareness with their #CripTheVoteUK campaign.
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Scene in a car park in Oxford, England. (GETTY/APEXPHOTOS)

On June 8th voters in Britain will head to the polls to cast their ballots in a general election.

There is a lot at stake, according to disability rights advocates, who believe the rights of the 13 million disabled people living in Britain are under threat. Mark Atkinson, the Chief Executive of the disability group Scope has said, "This election will be hugely important to disabled people in Britain and they will be looking closely at the policies and proposals from all parties."

In 2016, a United Nations study found welfare reforms in the UK led to “grave and systematic violations of disabled people’s rights”. The investigation into those reforms was first launched in 2012 after the UN received evidence of their impact on the disabled. The UK government has strongly disagreed with those findings.

With less than three weeks until the election it’s an all-out push for organisers of the #CripTheVoteUK campaign.

“If they [Britain’s 13 million disabled people] were organised and voted in their interest, it would be a massive electoral force that would be very powerful in terms of protecting our rights,” activist Rick Burgess, who spoke with The Stream ahead of his appearance on the show, said.

He and others are working to get as many disabled people registered to vote.

“We have this electoral power and we should organise and robustly defend our rights as a voting force.”

On this episode of The Stream, we speak with:

Eleanor Lisney @e_lisney
Co-founder, #CripTheVoteUK
ethoelisney.uk

Rick Burgess @TenPercent
Disability activist

Francis Davis @FrancisTDavis
Adviser, UK Office of Disability Issues

James Moore @JimMooreJourno
Columnist, The Independent 
independent.co.uk

Naomi Bottrill
British Sign Language interpreter

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