Lancashire MP presents British Sign Language Bill before Parliament

West Lancashire MP Rosie Cooper has launched her fight to get British Sign Language recognised as an offical language.

Friday, 18th June 2021, 4:55 am
Rosie Cooper

On Wednesday, Mrs Cooper introduced her Private Members Bill, the ‘British Sign Language Bill’ to be debated in Parliament.

The British Sign Language (BSL) Bill will declare BSL an official language of the United Kingdom and provide for a BSL Council that will be able to promote and advise on matters relating to the language.

At the Parliamentary session, Mrs Cooper named January 28, 2022 as the date for the second reading of her Bill in Parliament.

She said: “As the daughter of profoundly deaf parents, BSL is my first language. I know first-hand the difficulty that deaf people face every day. So often they are ignored, misunderstood or have to fight for attention.

“Acknowledging BSL as a language is a simple, principled step towards ensuring the needs of deaf people who rely on their language are met, and met correctly. Similar pieces of legislation have been passed and made a positive impact in Scotland and New Zealand.

“I am hopeful that the benefits of this Bill will be clear to the Government and that they will do what they can to support its passage through Parliament.”

David Buxton, from the British Deaf Association and Lead Trustee for the BDA’s BSL Act Now! Campaign, added: “We are absolutely delighted that Rosie supports our work and is bringing this Bill forward. As a sign language user herself from a Deaf family, Rosie shares and understands our lived experiences and knows the barriers we face.

“We will continue to work with Rosie to achieve a legal status for BSL– something the Deaf Community has been waiting for many, many, years. Only then will we have equality, access and provision for our language and our needs.”