Sonny Bailey

Do you identify as a disabled person?

Yes

What do you understand by the social model of disability and how is it relevant to the NEC?

The social model of disability says that we are disabled through society’s actions. That is true. Accessibility and inclusion should be at the forefront of the Labour Party, including on the NEC.

The social model of disability says that we are disabled through society’s actions. That is true. Accessibility and inclusion should be at the forefront of the Labour Party, including on the NEC.

How do you see your role as the Disabled Rep on the NEC?

I am committed to working with charities, employers and support services to spread awareness of neurodiversity. I am an autistic candidate who understands very well the challenges disabled people face in society.

How do you propose to gain the interest and support of those who are not currently personally impacted by disability?

Educational resources are key to spreading awareness for those not impacted by disability. Working with employers, services, and charities will also be necessary to make available these resources, and to influence policymaking.

Your constituency is disabled members. What systems will you use to ensure you understand the views of disabled members on agenda items prior to each NEC meeting?

I understand that disabled members need access to a range of alternative formats, such as large print, visual and audio formats. We must make these alternative formats available and accessible so that disabled members can state their views, queries and concerns.

What systems will use to report back to disabled members about what has happened at each NEC meeting?

We must use a range of alternative formats to report back to disabled members.

What skills, abilities, experience and/or qualifications do you have that enable you to campaign and advocate on behalf of disabled people?

I have worked with my Student Union as a disabled student officer, in which I was responsible for the implementation of quiet hours in Union spaces, as well as recognition of not every disability being visible by working with commerical services to insert disability friendly toilet signs on toilet doors. I am also the chair of a disability society at university, ensuring that our voices are heard in shaping University strategies and policies, and empowering students.

Do you think that there is institutional disablism in the Labour Party, if so, at what levels and what would you suggest to the NEC?

Yes, there is institutional disablism within the Party. There is a lack of awareness and understanding when it comes to neurodiversity, and we also do not have Labour Party mediums which are accessible to disabled members. We need to make those mediums more accessible, and allow for disabled people to form part of the policymaking process, including those who have invisible disabilities.

When and how did you first hear about the DEAL legal handbook?

After its publication in 2019.

Are there any sections of the DEAL legal handbook you don’t agree with and why? Do you have suggestions for improvement?

As of current, there are no sections I disagree with, but I would like to add that we could talk more about neurodiversity, as stated in some of my above answers.

Do you commit to actively working to make the handbook internal Party policy?

Yes

If yes to the previous question, how do you plan to get the NEC to acknowledge the DEAL legal handbook and make it internal policy?

The NEC must recognise that the UN’s report of the current Government on its previous injustices towards disabled people (the DWP putting out inhumane policies) are in breach of the UNCRPD, and by pointing out the many other examples of discrimination and injustices which breach various Articles of the Convention.

What do you understand by intersectionality and will it be important to your NEC role ?

Intersectionality will be at the core of my NEC role. Every decision must ensure that disabled people’s voices are heard, working to increase accessibility and inclusion for every disabled person. But intersectionality is also about understanding how these issues intersect with each other. A disabled autistic woman, may have trouble getting a diagnosis. Therefore we have to make decisions on the NEC to create and shape Labour policy for everyone. So for example, we must make available funding for diagnostic assessments, medical research and development.

Are you committed to making the UNCRPD incorporated into domestic legislation and why?

I am committed to making sure that the rights of disabled people are heard because everyone has a right to life, as stated in Article 10 of the UNCRPD. The UN was responsible for reporting the horrific injustices under this current Government.

How would you abolish WCA?

WCA are carried out by private assessors who are on private company contracts. To abolish WCA would require a refusal to review those contracts, which will allow for an easier path to appoint medical professionals who are experts in their field.

What do you think should be the Party’s policy priorities in the areas of social care and social security?

We must work to scrap Work Capability Assessments, and end the privatisation of all assessments which have left many disabled people without support. Universal Credit should also be scrapped, replacing it with a social security system that ensures disabled people are never left behind. Scrap the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) which leaves disabled people frightened and worried, and replace it with a Department of Social Security. We need a National Care Service for all, that also includes funding of social support services for people with autism.

Would you support an independent disability commission?

 Yes