§ The Secretary of State for Work and Pensions (Mr. Andrew Smith)
When I published the draft Disability Discrimination Bill on 3 December 2003, (Cm 6058), I emphasised a priority to meet our 2001 manifesto commitment in the lifetime of this Parliament—on extending rights of disabled people and removing barriers to their participation in society. I also announced our intention to publish a further clause which would protect disabled local councillors from discrimination by the local authority of which they are a member. This meets the commitment in "Towards Inclusion", the Government's response to the recommendations of the disability rights taskforce.
I am pleased to announce that I have today laid before Parliament the draft clause which becomes clause 15 of the draft Disability Discrimination Bill (Cm 6126, Draft Disability Discrimination Bill—Clause 15: relationships between locally-electable authorities and their members). Alongside the clause are published explanatory notes, prepared by my Department, to assist the Joint Scrutiny Committee of Parliament which is considering the draft Bill. The draft clause and notes are also available on http:// www.disability.gov.uk.