Get the vote out to get the Tories out!

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2023 National Disabled Members' Conference
7 July 2023

Conference believes 13 years of Conservative-led government have been a disaster for disabled LGBT+ people and looks forward to the opportunity presented by the next general election for the UK to kick the Tories out of government. However, despite the opinion polls, this is by no means guaranteed. We, as trade unionists, must help to get the vote out if we are to achieve it and with so many constituencies likely to be close, LGBT+ disabled people’s votes will be important.

Conference believes disabled people have suffered disproportionately for several years due to cuts imposed by the current government.

Since the Tories came to power under the coalition, and later in their own right, they have systematically attacked and started dismantling the welfare state and institutions, such as the NHS, that disabled people need to live independently. Gutting Remploy; privatisation of NHS blood plasma, which was later sold on to a Chinese company; more than doubling NHS expenditure on private health providers; the Health and Social Care Act; over 40% drop in the number of Learning Disability Nurses; cuts to Mobility Allowance; and life-expectancy down, for first time in decades. This list goes on and on.

They have also abjectly failed to take any real action to ban conversion therapy, particularly when it comes to trans people, and have fed a culture war that demonises trans people, whether in workplaces or in schools. NHS waiting lists for gender identity services are massive, with many trans people still having to go private.

Conference also recalls with horror that former Prime Minister Boris Johnson was found by the Privileges Committee to have deliberately and repeatedly misled parliament about attending illegal parties during the Covid pandemic whilst so many died, with family members unable to see them one last time. There is growing evidence that some government ministers fast-tracked contracts for their friends for often unusable and unsafe PPE, whilst nurses and doctors had to wear binbags in an effort to prevent infection. All whilst the rich were helped to get richer on the backs of everyone else.

Conference demands, loud and clear, that this cannot be allowed to continue and those responsible need to be brought to account.

Yet, we cannot rely on this catalogue of doom, destruction and despair to bring us the result our public services and disabled LGBT+ people need at a general election. Conference believes the Tories and their friends in the right wing press will start to sugar coat recent events and the legacy of their 13 years in office. We cannot allow that to happen.

In addition to this, the Tory government have introduced changes that seem designed to suppress votes from people who might want to vote against them. The new photo identification requirements will disproportionately impact younger LGBT+ people and disabled people on low incomes, both of whom are less likely to have the required type of photo identification.

Conference therefore instructs the National Disabled Members Committee to work with the National LGBT+ Committee to:

1)Raise awareness of the continued impact of the Conservative-led government on disabled and LGBT+ people

2)Work through the Labour Link to lobby the Labour party to seek to ensure a future Labour government fully delivers on banning all LGBT+ conversion therapy and on modernising and de-medicalising the Gender Recognition Act

3)Work with other appropriate parts of the union to encourage disabled people to register to vote

4)Raise awareness of the new photo identification requirements with disabled members

5)Work through the Labour Link to encourage our disabled members, via regions and branches where appropriate, to vote in a way that supports public services, equality and an end to 13 years of Tory mis-rule.