Lord Morris, the disabled rights pioneer, dies at 84

 

Lord Morris of Manchester, a lifelong campaigner for the rights of the disabled, has died aged 84.

His main legacy was to get legislation onto the statute book in 1970 that enshrined disabled rights in law for the first time.

Elected Labour MP for Manchester Wythenshawe in 1964 as Alf Morris, he was appointed Minister for the Disabled when Labour returned to power in 1974 and continued acting as the party's spokesman on the disabled through the 1980s.

He was made a life peer after retiring from the Commons in 1997.

He was also the driving force behind the independent inquiry into "Gulf War Syndrome", an illness afflicting veterans of the 1990 Gulf War.

The committee's report, published in 2004 but not accepted by the Government, concluded that 6,000 veterans suffered from illnesses originating from the war, and recommended a special fund to support them.

The report also praised Lord Morris for having "done more than anyone to promote the welfare of the Gulf War veterans".

As President of the Haemophilia Society, he also battled to better conditions for haemophiliacs.

Alice Maynard, chairwoman of disability charity Scope, said: "It was with great sadness that I learned of the death of the architect of the Chronically Sick and Disabled Persons Act 1970 that changed the lives and opportunities of so many disabled peo ple. Alf's fireside tales of his political manoeuvring to get the Act through are legendary among disabled activists."

The Labour MP Anne Begg tweeted yesterday: "When I first got mobility allowance which transformed my life, I didn't know that the man I had to thank was Alf Morris."

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