Crippen hears that disabled activist Doug Paulley is taking the government to court again

Fellow disabled activist Doug Paulley is taking on the government again with legal action over its “disrespectful” and “unlawful” approach to seeking our views on the proposed national disability strategy.

Doug, who is taking the legal action along with three other disabled people told Disability News Service (DNS) that the controversial survey, carried out by the Disability Unit, did not give them and other disabled people the chance to say what they really felt about what should be in the strategy.

There has been continuing controversy over the strategy and the survey over the last three months, including why the survey included a question that asked non-disabled people if they would be “happy to have a physical relationship with a disabled person”, and concerns about it being rushed, inaccessible, over-long and poorly-planned.

Doug argues that the survey is unlawful because it offers only limited information about the strategy and does not allow disabled people to provide a “proper and effective response”. They want the consultation to be declared unlawful, and for there to be a new, lawful consultation before the government publishes its strategy.

Doug added: “The secretary of state’s approach to consulting disabled people, on a national strategy which aims to ‘transform’ the lives of disabled people, is immensely disrespectful. This survey has not given disabled people any meaningful opportunity to do so, and therefore any strategy developed from the survey will be imposed on disabled people without their voices being heard.”

In its usual dismissive way the government has apparently told Bindmans, the legal firm retained by Doug and his colleagues,  that the survey is not a consultation – even though the Disability Unit’s own website lists the survey as an “Open Consultation” and the survey is hosted on the unit’s “Consultation Hub” – and that it is not obliged to consult disabled people about the strategy!

We’ll be watching Doug’s progress with this latest legal battle against a government that clearly has a disturbing, not so hidden agenda for disabled people.

Description of cartoon for those using screen reading software

Disabled activist Doug Paulley, wearing a red t-shirt with ‘cripes it’s a crip’ printed on it, is coming up behind Justin Tomlinson, Minister for Disabled People, and Boris Johnson, waving a piece of paper with High Court action written upon it. Behind him is a large crowd of people waving banners, one of which reads disability survey farce. Tomlinson is speaking to Boris out the side of his mouth and is saying: “I think we’re in the shit Boris – Doug Paulley has a habit of winning!”

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