On the morning of Boris Johnson’s briefing on the 12th October, he was questioned by Vicky Foxcroft MP about whether there will be a sign language interpreter at the briefing. His response was there was not enough time. There are over 87,000 BSL users in the UK.
Deaf Campaigners are bringing legal proceedings against the Government due to the lack of BSL interpreters at briefings. It is argued that this breaches the Equality Act as it unlawfully discriminates against a protected characteristic.
The Government said they cannot include a BSL interpreter safely without putting others at risk. They are meant to be available on the BBC News channel and through BBC IPlayer, however, one has not been available for every briefing.
The next day, Keir Starmer held his own televised briefing. He did not have a BSL interpreter either.
Politicians are elected representatives and their deaf constituents deserve to understand. Although BSL interpreters have appeared at some briefings since, the government are still failing to provide one for all – making briefings inaccessible for individuals across the country.