As it stands, any MPs who have been detained under the Mental Health Act for longer than six months are stripped of their seat, but Tory MP Gavin Barwell submitted a private member’s bill that he hopes will abolish these archaic and discriminatory rules.
Speaking to MPs Barwell said: “My bill’s purpose is very simple: to tackle the last legal form of discrimination in our society.
“To our shame the law of the land still discriminates against those with a mental health condition.
“An MP or a company director can be removed from their job because of mental ill health even if they go on to make a full recovery.
As it stands, many individuals who would be able to participate in jury service are currently unable to do so, sending the message that if someone has a mental health condition they are not welcome to contribute to society.
The Law Society has already warned that the current rules could be in violation of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, and the bill has received backing from various mental health charities and the Royal College of Physicians.
Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg is also supporting the bill, and has said that whilst the government is making an effort to reduce the stigma surrounding mental illness, he is delighted to be backing a private members bill which will address the issue within his own place of work.
“It’s ludicrous in this day and age that a person can’t contribute to public life if they’ve had issues with their mental health.
“Discrimination like this has no place in modern society and it is right that these rules are repealed.” He said.
View and comment on the original BBC News article.