Tom Blenkinsop MP brings Bill before Parliament to protect “dignity” of disabled people at Airports

Tom Blenkinsop, Labour Member of Parliament for Middlesbrough South and East Cleveland, yesterday introduced the Airport Security (People with Disabilities) Bill in the House of Commons, which aims to ensure that the dignity of disabled people and cancer survivors at airports is protected.

Tom said: “A constituent, who requires the use of urostomy and colostomy pouches, came to one of my surgeries to tell me about the humiliation she had faced at various airport security checkpoints throughout the UK and the EU. I was horrified to hear how unsympathetic some security guards were, forcing her to undergo a pat-down search and wanting her to undergo an examination of her underwear, despite her having a letter from a doctor explaining how she was a cancer survivor who required the use of ostomy pouches.

Having surgery, such as colostomies and urostomies, to help fight against life-threatening health conditions such as bowel and bladder cancer should not end someone’s right to travel, nor should it end their right to be treated with dignity. However, this is sadly unfortunately what often occurs. Although it is vital to ensure that aerospace is secure, one would hope that in circumstances like these, airport security staff would act with compassion, humanity and common sense.

My Bill urges the Government to ensure that all airport security staff in the United Kingdom would be trained regarding the preservation of stoma patients’ dignity, and would also urge the Government to work with the European Commission and the International Civil Aviation Organization to amend European and international regulations so that airport security staff throughout the EU and the world would also be so trained.

Ten Minute Rule Bills like this can yield great successes. On 9 February 2011, I introduced a Ten Minute Rule Bill that would have given the Coal Authority responsibility for former metal mines, like those that were polluting Saltburn Gill. Although this Bill was not passed into law, the Coal Authority were given additional funding to deal with these issues. This Ten Minute Rule Bill, on Airport Security, will raise the profile of the problems disabled people and ostomy pouch users face, and I hope that the Government will choose to take action.”

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