Mental Health (Discrimination) Bill received its second reading
today in the House of Lords today (Friday 25 November) and now
goes to committee stage.
Responding to the debate on behalf of the
government, Lord Wallace of Saltaire revealed that the government
fully supports the bill and is committed to ensuring it becomes law
even if there is not sufficient time in this Parliamentary
Professor Sue Bailey, President of the Royal
College of Psychiatrists, said: "We are delighted that this
Bill has received such strong government support today. The College
has worked closely with Lord Stevenson on this Bill and we are
proud to be involved. The Government has already voiced its
commitment to removing the stigma associated with mental health
problems and this Bill goes some way to rectify this. The fact that
you can be turned down for jury service, or be removed from your
job as an MP, school governor or company director because of mental
health problems, is discriminatory and outdated."
The Bill aims to:
- Repeal section 141 of the Mental Health Act 1983, under which a
Member of the House of Commons, Scottish Parliament, Welsh Assembly
or Northern Ireland Assembly automatically loses their seat if they
are sectioned under the Mental Health Act for more than six
- Amend the Juries Act 1974 to overturn the blanket ban on
“mentally disordered persons” undertaking jury service;
- Amend the Companies (Model Articles) Regulations 2008 which
states that a person might cease to be a director of a public or
private company “by reason of their mental health”;
- Amend the School Governance (Constitution) (England)
Regulations 2007 so that individuals detained under the Mental
Health Act are no longer prevented being school governors.
Lord Dennis Stevenson and Charles Walker MP,
supported by the Royal College of Psychiatrists, Mind, and Rethink
Mental Illness, have worked on the Bill.
For further information, please
McLoughlin in the Communications Department.
Telephone: 0203 701 2544 or 07738 349070