Disabled people demonstrate to save civil rights Bill

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DISABLED people threw themselves from their wheelchairs into the road while others handcuffed themselves to buses yesterday in an angry anti-Government protest that blocked Whitehall.

Police used bolt cutters to free some of the protesters as they demonstrated against the treatment of a parliamentary bill that was supposed to guarantee their civil rights.

As other campaigners chained their wheelchairs together across the road, a delegation of MPs and supporters from the all-party disablement group presented a letter of protest at Downing Street. They were venting their anger over what they see as the Government's backdoor attempts to block the Civil Rights (Disabled Persons) private member's Bill.

The social security minister, Nicholas Scott, was called on to resign when he had to apologise for misleading the House of Commons over the Bill. His officials had been involved in initial drafting of some amendments put by backbenchers which resulted in the Bill running out of time, he admitted.

Mr Scott's daughter Victoria, a parliamentary lobbyist for a disabled people's pressure group, was at the forefront of yesterday's protests. People in wheelchairs chained across the road shouted: 'We want what you've got]'

A spokeswoman, Barbara Lisicki, told BBC TV News: 'You are going to see more of this. There are a lot of disabled people who are interested in supporting us in taking this kind of action, until we get the kind of civil rights that we are entitled to.'

The Bill has one last chance in Parliament tomorrow, though the Labour MP Alf Morris said yesterday that further moves were being made to delay debate on the measure.

(Photograph omitted)