West Lancashire MP Rosie Cooper is looking forward to the parliamentary debate of her British Sign Language Bill which will take place on 28 January 2022.

Ahead of the debate, she has invited all MPs to attend a drop-in event on 19 January, that she is hosting in Parliament with the support of the British Deaf Association, RNID and other charities representing the deaf community.

The Bill is a simple instrument that will declare British Sign Language as an official language of the UK and provide for improved guidance to be issued by the Secretary of State to public services and government departments. The second reading of the Bill, which is the first time MPs get the chance to debate it, is 28 January, and if it passes this stage it will receive a committee stage and third reading later in the year, on the way to becoming Law.

Rosie Cooper MP said:
“It has been over 6 months since I introduced my British Sign Language Bill into Parliament and chose 28 January as the date for the debate. The timing couldn’t have been better! Rose Ayling-Ellis has brought this incredibly important issue into every living room via TV screens across the country while she conquered Strictly Come Dancing!

“As the daughter of profoundly deaf parents, I grew up with BSL as my first language, so to see it being used every weekend on Strictly is phenomenal. So many people are signing up to learn BSL and have a much clearer understanding of what BSL is and why it essential that we recognise it as an official language.

“There are around 90,000 deaf people in the UK that rely on BSL, yet they have to fight every day to be heard or listened to! My Bill aims to help put deaf BSL users on a more equal playing field with everyone else, to require the Government to work with Deaf people to develop guidance on how public bodies should enable the use of BSL across their services.

“I hope as many MPs as possible are able to come to the drop in event in Parliament on 19 January, so we can get cross party support for the Bill at the debate on the 28th!”

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