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British MP uses sign language to protest lack of interpreters at press briefings

Boris Johnson the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom coronavirus briefings
Photo: Dreamstime

Labour MP, Vicky Foxcroft, used sign language to highlight the need for interpreters at Downing Street briefings. 

The British government spent millions of taxpayers’ money on a new press room, however, Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s 10 Downing Street office does not employ any British Sign Language (BSL) interpreters.

Foxcroft, shadow minister for people with disabilities, said, as a result, many Brits are excluded from public briefings which provide important COVID-19 pandemic public health information to the nation.

Foxcroft used BSL to ask her question to Prime Minister Johnson, and then said in spoken word, “If the prime minister doesn’t understand, imagine how those who rely on BSL feel at his press briefings.”

″£2.5m spent on the new press room, yet still no interpreter. What message does he think this sends to disabled people?”

It is estimated that 30,000 – 70,000 British residents with hearing disabilities use BSL as their first language.

The prime minister said he would consider the issue, telling Foxcroft he was “grateful for the way she has set out her question.”

Foxcroft said, “The prime minister has been asked several times why his press conferences continue to exclude disabled people who rely on BSL. His continued failure to answer is completely unacceptable.

“The Conservatives have failed at making essential communication inclusive…Why no interpreter in room briefings, why is this not sorted?”

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