Praise for mental health bill MP who calls people “loons”

Many believe that the Right-leaning Spectator magazine, whose recent editors have included Charles “Lord Snooty” Moore, Dominic Lawson, the son of a Tory Chancellor, and Boris Johnson, has been going downhill ever since star columnist Jeffrey Bernard became terminally unwell.

Today, the Speccie turns its attention to Croydon, and offers an insight to the likely success of local MP Gavin Barwell’s private member’s Mental Health (Discrimination) Bill  that is due for a further reading at the House of Commons next week.

Barwell, who was recently caught out breaking laws rather than making them, is pushing at an open door: what’s not to like about a bill that sets out to amend some out-dated discriminatory legal provisions that have no place in the 21st century?

“When you read the changes proposed by Barwell’s Bill, it’s amazing they’re even necessary today,” the Speccie‘s Coffee House column says.

“They allow anyone voluntarily receiving regular treatment for a mental health disorder who are not in a hospital to sit on a jury (currently someone seeing their doctor regularly for anti-depressant treatment, or receiving counselling for a problem like anxiety attacks is barred); they repeal the section of the Mental Health Act 1983 which automatically removes an MP from their seat if they have been sectioned under the act for more than six months; and they remove a provision in the standard articles that many companies adopt which allow a company director to be removed if they have a mental health problem.”

The government and the Labour opposition will support Barwell’s Bill, the Spectator reckons, as it seeks to explain Barwell’s failure to secure a promotion in this week’s government reshuffle.

“This legislation is another example of the enormous influence that an MP can wield to change life for the better without carrying any red boxes around at all,” they say. Maybe. But what will Barwell, a former very busy aide to Lord Cashcroft, do to occupy his time when he no longer has the Bill or his former work as a PPS to occupy him?

Oddly, the Spectator fails to mention that this apparent champion of mental health issues also has a nasty party knack of hurling insults at any who dare question him, resorting to calling some Croydon residents “loons” or “flat-earthers” because they dare disagree with him.

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