In a rare instance of an MP signing in the Commons chamber, Labour’s Dawn Butler asked the Leader of the House if British Sign Language would be given legal status.
Watch it here:
MP signs question in the House of Commons to demand official status for British Sign Language pic.twitter.com/0Duwx4yoAT
— Channel 4 News (@Channel4News) March 16, 2017
Butler said, while signing:
“I would like to sign my question. Will the minister agree the 18 March marks the 14th anniversary since the UK government recognised British Sign Language. Will the minister agree it is time to bring and give British Sign Language legal status like other recognised languages?”
David Lidington, the Leader of the House, replied:
“The Department for Work & Pensions has underway a review of the provision of signing services in this country . . . The Department for Education does now plan to accept British Sign Language as an alternative qualification to functional skills in English within apprenticeships.”
This is not the first time an MP has signed in the chamber. The Labour MP Tom Levitt, fluent in sign language, was the first politician to use it in the Commons, in an adjournment debate about British Sign Language in April 2000.