Working with our partners, Incisive Health, we organised a drop-in meeting for parliamentarians in the House of Commons on 24th October. We are enormously grateful to Cheryl Gillan MP, chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Autism, for sponsoring the event and for the generous assistance from her team.
In preparation for this event, we wrote a brief summary of the main points from our report “The Autism Dividend” which we called the Autism Agenda. We also invited other organisations to join us for the event and use the opportunity to speak to parliamentarians about their campaigns and priorities. We were pleased that the Autism Alliance, Autistica, the National Autistic Society and the Westminster Commission on Autism all came with their banners and literature to make a real autism event.
The response from parliamentarians was exceptional. Over 40 MPs and peers “dropped in” and took the opportunity to speak to us and the other organisations about autism. It was clear that the problems of accessing help and services weigh heavily on autistic people and their families, and MPs are very frequently approached for help through their surgeries and their mailbags. Without exception, the visitors were happy to be photographed in front of the NAP banner pledging their support for the Autism Agenda. In addition to those shown below, some other visitors escaped our photographer, but we are equally grateful to Cheryl Gillan MP, Joanna Cherry MP, Pauline Latham MP and Lord Watson of Invergowrie for dropping in.
This was a highly successful event, and reassuring that even in times of great political upheaval, the interests of vulnerable people in the country can still attract such genuine interest and concern from our parliamentary representatives.