An MP with cerebral palsy has described how he was mocked about his disability as he tried to speak in the House of Commons.
Paul Maynard, who was elected as the Conservative MP for Blackpool North and Cleveleys last May, accused Labour MPs of “pulling faces” at him in an apparent mimic.
In an interview with The Times, he said: “They were constantly intervening, trying to put me off my stride, which may be just normal parliamentary tactics.
“But some were pulling faces at me, really exaggerated gesticulations, really exaggerated faces.”
He added: “Only they know for certain whether they were taking the mick out of my disability. But it felt like it.”
Other MPs confirmed that the incident had taken place, during a debate about the abolition of the child trust fund.
The incident calls into question the sometimes highly aggressive and confrontational nature of the Commons. It may also undermine efforts to increase diversity in parliament.
On his personal website, Mr Maynard describes his cerebral palsy as “very mild” and says it does not especially affect the way he lives.
But he acknowledges: “It probably affects the way some people see me, and there will always be people who write you off because of it – but I’ve never let them stop me.”
He was diagnosed with epilepsy too when he was 22, an event he says was “a shock” and forced him to give up alcohol.