Autism, Neurodiversity and the Labour Party: statement from Janine Booth and Monique Craine

We are working with Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell to progress the idea of the Labour Party developing a Neurodiversity/Autism Manifesto and appointing a Shadow Minister for Neurodiversity. We are pleased to hear from John that Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn also supports this idea. Neurodiversity (ND) is the term that describes the fact that different people have different brain wiring (neurology). Those of us with atypical or divergent neurology (including autistic people, dyslexic people, and people with ADHD, OCD and other conditions) face significant discrimination and disadvantage in society, and we have been working hard within the left and the labour movement to address and challenge this discrimination, which affects millions of people in the UK. With the Tories’ austerity policies cutting what little support neurodivergent (ND) people receive, we believe that the most effective way forward is through active campaigning and the election of a Labour government with a clear commitment to deliver change and a specified person responsible for making this happen. Following a very constructive meeting on 31 May, our next step is to bring a small steering group together to agree a way forward, to ensure a democratic and inclusive process for developing a draft Manifesto, in which all sections of the labour movement and ND communities, in all their diversity, will be able to participate. We want to make clear that it is not our intention to write the Manifesto, but to facilitate the labour movement, ND people and our supporters to voice their demands through the Manifesto. It is, of course, up to the Labour Party whom it appoints as Shadow Minister. We hope to announce the next steps by mid-July.

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