by Angus Watson

At People First Keighley and Craven, we’re all about creating meaningful conversations and making voices heard. Recently, we had the incredible opportunity to sit down with Vicky Foxcroft MP, the Shadow Minister for Disabled People. The topic? We talked to Vicky about the changes made to the role of Disability Minister and what has happened since these changes were made.


It all started with an email to Vicky’s team. Graeme Cunningham, a member, and I penned a question
to be asked at PMQs (Prime Minister’s Questions) to ask why the role of Disability Minister had
been downgraded. What we didn’t expect from this question to Vicky was that it would pave the way
for an incredible opportunity!

We invited Vicky to address our concerns about the ministerial change and the challenges faced by
disabled individuals. To our delight, she accepted our invitation to meet with us. Cue the excitement!
Graeme and the rest of the members were eagerly anticipating the conversation with her.

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Getting ready for the interview:
The members created a list of questions in their workshop to put to Vicky. By the end of the
workshop session there was an abundance of questions! Our members realised, however, they
needed to whittle the questions down for time purposes. Eleven questions were agreed on, distilled
into the most meaningful.


The meeting:
The day had arrived we had our online meeting ready to go, members Alex Millar and Graeme
Cunningham acted as podcast hosts, with technical support from Oliver Clayton. The rest of the
members were watching ready for audience questions later on.
Vicky responded to the concerns members had about the changes to the Disability Minister role and
shared what had happened following the reinstatement of the role as a result of the significant
pushback from MPs and the public. Vicky said…

…It shouldn’t have taken so long, we shouldn’t have had to argue so much…

…I am really glad that it’s been put back as minister of state, but I was really really
angry and upset in terms of the downgrading for the second time since I have had the
role…


When asked about if Labour was elected would there be instant change in the quality of disabled
people’s lives, Vicky said…

…I am not sure we exactly would be able to see all of the instant changes that we’d
want if I am being brutally honest, because we don’t know the state of public finances…


…But what we will see an instant change if is the language and the rhetoric that’s used…


…I spoke before in terms of co production, this is really important to me, but it will take
time to bed it into government and to embed the principles of that right across
government…


When asked about disabled people being involved in forming policy and the importance
of coproduction Vicky said…

…I quite often say that disabled people have to be thrifty with their finances every single
day, why would we not think that disabled people are able to be thrifty with the public
finances…


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After the interview, members were impressed with the personable approach to answering their
questions. She openly shared her thoughts on the changes to the Disability Minister role,
acknowledging the challenges ahead with public finances. Yet, she also saw this as an opportunity to
shift the narrative for disabled people. Vicky emphasised the importance of the plans for
coproduction in decision making, highlighting the resourcefulness of those with lived experience and
their potential to shape public policy.


You can watch the full interview with captions on the People First Keighley & Craven YouTube Page

Or listen to the episode on the Podcast Page of our website!



*This post and the interview on the People First Podcast was recorded and written before the dissolving of parliament, meaning Vicky Foxcroft was still registered as an MP.