Andrew Lansley, the new health secretary, has done little to reassure disabled people that his government will treat social care reform as a priority.
The Conservative MP for South Cambridgeshire, who served as the shadow health secretary from 2003 until the election, focused on health and said little about social care in a statement released by the Department of Health following his appointment.
He said the government would need to “create a more integrated public health service at the heart of healthcare policy”, and added: “To improve health and well-being, we must offer support, security and services to those in need of personal and social care.”
Meanwhile, the former shadow disabled people’s minister, the Conservative MP Jeremy Hunt, has been appointed as the culture, Olympics, media and sport secretary, with his brief to include responsibility for the London 2012 Paralympics.
There has also been regret among disabled activists after one of the leading parliamentary campaigners for disability rights, the Labour MP Roger Berry, lost his seat in the election.
The Labour MP, who was co-chair of the all party parliamentary disability group, lost his Kingswood seat in south Gloucestershire to the Conservatives.
Baroness [Jane] Campbell, his co-chair on the all party group, said she was “very upset” that Berry had lost his seat as he had been “such an active and supportive co- chair”.
She said he had also been “an active campaigner on a whole range of disability issues both in his constituency and nationally”.
She added: “Throughout his parliamentary time he has tirelessly committed himself to securing civil rights legislation for disabled people.”
She highlighted the private member’s bill – the civil rights (disabled persons) bill, which was drawn up by Lord [Alf] Morris and which Berry introduced to the Commons in 1993 – which she said was “the important forerunner” to the Disability Discrimination Act.
Berry also pushed for disabled people to have a legal right to independent living through a private members’ bill put forward by Lord [Jack] Ashley.
Baroness Campbell said she would be seeking a co-chair for the committee from the Commons “as soon as possible”, so that the all party group could have leadership from both houses of parliament.
Both Jonathan Shaw, Labour’s former disabled people’s minister, and Phil Hope, the former care services minister, lost their seats in the election.
13 May 2010