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The death of Rt Hon Lord Ashley of Stoke CH

Message from Baroness Campbell of Surbiton DBE and Rt Hon Anne McGuire MP, Co-chairs All-Party Parliamentary Disability Group

23 April 2012

It is with great sadness that we have learnt of the death of Rt Hon Lord Ashley of Stoke CH. Jack Ashley was a founding member, chair and then President of the All-Party Parliamentary Disability Group, one of the oldest and largest All-Party Groups.

Jack Ashley was an outstanding parliamentarian and champion of disability and human rights. By speaking out powerfully against discrimination and neglect and campaigning for an equal society, Jack changed the lives of many disabled people and enabled them to lead fulfilling lives. Thanks to his efforts, human rights and non-discrimination legislation and measures to end disability poverty were introduced whilst he raised a greater awareness of disability equality across the whole spectrum of government policy.

As a deaf parliamentarian he paved the way for disabled people to become leaders and spokespersons in our democracy. He demonstrated that it is often a matter of attitude to break down barriers to political participation.

Jack Ashley strongly believed in the importance of MPs meeting with disabled people. At our reception in October he sent a message in which he once again emphasised how meetings between disabled people and their MPs can lead to a transformation in both the lives of disabled people, peers and MPs.

The APPDG is very much indebted to Lord Ashley and we owe it to him to defend his legacy and carry the torch towards full equality for disabled people in all corners of society.