On Tuesday 17 September, we were proud to be present as the Liberal Democrats annual conference voted unanimously for the motion, “Recognising a Legal Status for British Sign Language” (BSL). This was proposed by David Buxton of the British Deaf Association, in his capacity as a member of the party.
Several members spoke in support of the motion, including Judith Bunting, Jackie Porter and Greg Judge. Sir Malcolm Bruce MP also gave a short speech giving strong evidence as to why the motion should be passed. He stated that BSL was as much of an indigenous language as Gaelic and thus should be given the same protections and promotion.
One member’s request to truncate the debate and return it for further consideration before a vote was defeated by the delegates’ vote. George Potter, of the Liberal Democrat Disability Association, closed the motion.
Signature sees this as part of a growing recognition of BSL and the need to make society accessible for all deaf people. Sir Malcolm Bruce’s “Communication Support (Deafness) Bill” at Westminster, joins Mark Griffin MSP’s BSL bill at Holyrood in helping to make this happen.
We look forward to working with Sir Malcolm and the Liberal Democrats on this and on future campaigns to achieve equality for all deaf people.