Cross-party support for Liam Fox's 'landmark' Downs Syndrome Bill

Liam Fox

Liam Fox's Down Syndrome Bill has passed the Committee Stage. - Credit: Liam Fox

North Somerset MP Liam Fox has today presented his Down Syndrome Bill to Parliament as it is examined as part of its committee stage.

The Bill aims to make provisions about meeting the needs of people with Down Syndrome partly by asking councils to assess what needs and plans need to be set up to help those with the condition.

Speaking after amendments were recommended to the Bill before it passes on to its next stage before becoming law, Dr Fox reminded the house of its importance.

Liam Fox

The bill has received cross-party support in Parliament. - Credit: David Goss

He said: "What we have done [with this bill] rather than single out a specific grouping, is to show the increasingly complex needs that a range of conditions require as medical science improves and we have a greater life expectancy - which is something we should celebrate.

"This is not a Bill about a condition, it is a bill about people who are living with a condition and the families who care for them.

"Individuals who, for too long, have been more vulnerable than they need to be and have been overlooked by a series of legislation which has not adequately taken into account a combination of needs they uniquely have."

An estimated 42,000 people in the UK have Down Syndrome.

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Dr Fox explained that growing up with a neighbour who had the condition, and coming into contact with others with Down Syndrome during his medical career, has had an impact on his life.

He added: "No Bill is perfect, no Bill requires no further work, but getting this legislation on the Statute Book is a statement of intent.

"A statement of recognition of the needs that those with Down syndrome have. We know that Private Members' Bills are limited with scope if we want to get them through the House of Commons but I do believe the amendments we have taken today have taken the Bill from being well-meaning to being a landmark Bill."

Dr Liam Fox MP and Freddie Tall.

The bill seeks to improve care for those with Down Syndrome who may outlive their parents/carers. - Credit: Roger Harris Photography

Following the amendments, the Down Syndrome Bill will return to the floor of the House of Commons for its report stage, where the amended Bill can be debated and further amendments proposed.