Wheelchair bound MP has that golden touch

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Christmas came early yesterday for Labour MP Anne Begg, who displayed her new gold-plated wheelchair outside the House of Commons. Ms Begg, 41, who became Britain's first wheelchair-bound MP when she defeated former the Scottish Office minister Raymond Robertson on 1 May for the Aberdeen South constituency, showed that the disabled can travel in style by acquiring the new pounds 1,475 chair.

She spotted the chair at this year's Scope National Conference in Blackpool, and decided that it would be the ideal accessory to complement her best clothes on special occasions.

One of a limited edition of just 99 being sold across Europe, the chair contains around pounds 180 worth of gold.

Chris Fullerton, the marketing manager of manufacturers Invacare UK, said: "We have found that wheelchairs are fast becoming a style item, and that users want chairs to reflect their personality, as well as providing a high degree of mobility."

Ms Begg, who was head of English at Arbroath Academy before her election to Parliament, has been in a wheelchair for 13 years.

She suffers from Gauchers disease - an enzyme deficiency blood disorder that has softened her bones.