Page last updated at 11:45 GMT, Friday, 30 November 2012

MP hails 'landmark statement' on mental health

People with mental health conditions are one step closer to gaining greater civil rights after an anti-discrimination bill passed a key vote in the House of Commons, on 30 November 2012.

The bill would end restrictions on people with mental health problems in public life, allowing them to become jurors, serve as company directors and retain their seats as MPs.

Conservative MP Gavin Barwell's private member's bill received support from the government and other MPs and will now progress to the House of Lords.

"What the bill is trying to do is bring the law of this country into the 21st century," Mr Barwell told the House.

He described the legislation as a "landmark statement that attitudes in this country towards those with mental health conditions are changing".

Mr Barwell's efforts were praised by the government.

Political and Constitutional Reform Minister Chloe Smith said: "The reforms in this bill in totality are an absolutely essential part of this government's drive to tackle the stigma and discrimination still associated with mental health."

Labour's spokesman Robert Flello agreed on the need to make society "as accepting of mental health as it is of someone who has broken an arm or sprained an ankle".

Conservative MP Charles Walker and and Labour's Kevan Jones, who have been widely praised for speaking out about their own struggles with mental illness, have both lent their support to the bill.

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