20.04.

2012: MP who Fought for the Rights of People with Disabilities

2012: MP who Fought for the Rights of People with Disabilities
Photo Credit To http://i.telegraph.co.uk/multimedia/archive/02199/3282163_2199573b.jpg

A personal misfortune befell him at the age of 45, when he completely lost his hearing. At first he wanted to resign as MP. 

 

On this day died Lord Ashley, born Jack Ashley, known as a politician who fought for the rights of people with disabilities. He was a member of the British Parliament for over 46 years, first as a member of the House of Commons, and later of the House of Lords.
Jack Ashley was born in the industrial town of Widnes near Liverpool. Already at the age of 14 he started working in the industry. However, he later managed to get a higher education (he even attended Cambridge). At the age of 43 he became a Member of the British Parliament.
A personal misfortune befell him at the age of 45, when he completely lost his hearing. This happened because of an unsuccessful ear operation, which was actually supposed to be a routine one. That operation was needed to correct a minor hearing disorder that he sustained early in his working career, but went wrong and the complications caused deafness. Certainly, it was an emotional blow to Ashley.
Because of his loss of hearing, Jack Ashley initially thought to resign as MP. However, he was persuaded to take a crash-course in lip-reading instead (to monitor the debates in parliament). So he remained sitting in parliament, quite possibly the only totally deaf member of parliament in the world.
As such, Ashley began to fight for the rights of people with disabilities, especially the deaf and blind. He gained considerable support and reputation among colleagues, regardless of party allegiance. In 1972 he advocated a revolutionary proposal in the Parliament, to introduce the difference between legal and moral responsibility. The media also promoted the introduction of moral responsibility, especially in cases of children whose health was damaged after their mothers took thalidomide during pregnancy. He also fought for providing compensation to people who suffered damage as a result of vaccination, and for taking the harmful drug Oprena (for arthritis). Ashley became a respected parliamentarian, and was awarded the title of Lord, as Lord Ashley of Stoke. He died at the high age of 90.

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