Labour has been accused of showing “contempt” for autistic and other neurodivergent party members, after ignoring proposals they submitted as part of a policy development process.
A summary of the neurodiversity manifesto that was put together by members of Neurodivergent Labour was submitted to the party’s National Policy Forum, which has been consulting on new policies on social security, poverty and inequalities.
But the party conference in Brighton heard this week that not a word of the manifesto summary had been included in the National Policy Forum annual report (PDF), which was debated by conference this week.
The manifesto was drawn up by Neurodivergent Labour with the support of John McDonnell, Labour’s former shadow chancellor, who said at the last full party conference in 2019 that senior figures in the party had not done enough to take on the policies outlined in the manifesto.
The disabled activist and author Janine Booth, chair of Neurodivergent Labour, told the conference this week that despite neurodivergent people experiencing “discrimination, prejudice, social isolation and economic exclusion, made worse by Tory austerity”, there was “not a single word about neurodiversity” in more than 100 pages of policy in the report.
She said: “We submitted a comprehensive set of proposals that were widely supported, only to be ignored.”
Booth said that more than 200 party members and more than 100 constituency Labour parties around the country had signed a statement supporting these concerns.
The Transport Salaried Staffs’ Association (TSSA) union also raised concerns about the failure to include any of the proposals in the annual report.
Mick Carney, TSSA’s president, told the conference that the failure to mention the manifesto in the policy forum report was “a missed opportunity”.
Jonathan Farr, treasurer of Disability Labour, told Disability News Service later that the conference had paid “scant attention to disability in general”.
He said the manifesto was the second most popular online submission in the consultation on that part of the National Policy Forum process, “and yet not a single word of it went into the final document.
“How is that just or fair? If the Labour party actually cares about disabled people then they need to show that commitment by talking about all disabled people in their policy documents.”
Labour had not responded to a request to comment on the neurodiversity manifesto by noon today (Thursday).
Picture: John McDonnell (left) and Janine Booth (centre) at the 2019 fringe event
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