'Historic' Down Syndrome Bill set to become law

Liam Fox

Liam Fox's Down Syndrome Bill has passed though both houses of parliament, unchallenged. - Credit: Liam Fox

A world-first bill, introduced by North Somerset MP Liam Fox, to improve the lives of those living with Down Syndrome is set to be passed into law.

Today (April 1) the Down Syndrome Bill completed its final stage in the House of Lords, meaning it now awaits Royal Assent before becoming an Act.

North Somerset's MP now awaits confirmation from The Queen to formally end the bill's journey into an act.

Dr Liam Fox with Freddie Tall from Yatton.

Dr Liam Fox with Freddie Tall from Yatton. - Credit: Liam Fox

Dr Fox expressed his delight at seeing the bill take another step closer to helping those with Down Syndrome.

He told the Times: “I am thrilled that my Private Members’ Bill – the Down Syndrome Bill – is set to become an act of Parliament.

"This will mean there is now a law to deal with the issues faced by those with Down Syndrome.

"I hope that three things will flow from this. The first is to help de-stigmatise Down syndrome. The second is to ensure that the current provision of services is improved.

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"The third is to look ahead and deal with future issues, such as long-term care, in an era where, for the first time, many of those with Down syndrome will outlive their parents.”

Dr Fox has previously stated the bill would lift the burden on parents who were worried about what would happen to their children after they die as the number of people with Down Syndrome outliving their parents rises.

The bill secured cross-party support but there is no set time for when it will receive Royal Ascension.

The National Down Syndrome Policy Group (NDSPG) also championed the bill and its ambassador, Tommy Jessop, an actor in BBC’s Line of Duty crime drama, has described this moment as 'historic'.

Liam Fox

Liam Fox and other Government ministers inside parliament after a reading of the bill. - Credit: David Goss

NDSPG chair, Peter Brackett added: "The Down Syndrome Bill has travelled through both Houses unchallenged to get to this point, a testament to everyone involved.

“The community has really rallied behind the NDSPG in its support of the Bill and we’ve had continual messages of support and encouragement from Down syndrome groups all over the country, other charities, politicians, families and people with Down syndrome.

"We’re thrilled to be in the home straight of what we believe will be a transformative piece of legislation."