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Toksvig protests for disabled rights

Sandi Toksvig with protesters at Parliament Square
Sandi Toksvig with protesters at Parliament Square Image credit: inews.co.uk

TV presenter Sandi Toksvig is campaigning for the government to offer more support for disabled people.

The QI host joined protesters on Wednesday at an event held by the Women’s Equality Party (WEP) after a study showed women with disabilities are 91 per cent more likely to die from Covid-19 according to data released from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) based on deaths between January 2020 and February 2021.

During the protest Toksvig (pictured above second from left) , who co-founded the WEP, told i:  “The Government’s failure to keep disabled people safe during this pandemic is unforgivable.

“When I heard the figures, I said ‘I’m sorry, how much?’. I knew that for once in my life, I needed to go down and shout in Parliament Square.

“People have lost their carers, they’ve lost access to work, they’ve lost access to education, and I’ve just had enough now.”

Recent research by the BBC highlighted over 24,000 disabled people have missed crucial medical appointments after they were cancelled because of the pandemic.

Protester and co-founder of the WEP, Sarabajaya Kumar, said: “I survived the pandemic out of sheer luck.

“I had to shield for 15 months, while my partner works full-time and had to take on a job as my informal carer because my carer had to quit because they didn’t have the right PPE.

“I know that I’m in a hugely privileged position, because I’ve spent the past year or so being viewed as collateral damage.”

Ms Toksvig added there “shouldn’t be a hierarchy when it comes to life”.

“Many disabled people were left off the clinically vulnerable vaccination list. There was one NHS Trust who wrote to people with muscular dystrophy and said we’re no longer going to be sending you antibacterial filters for your ventilators because we’re keeping them for people with Covid.

“I am protesting because unless the government takes action now, more disabled women will die.”

Protester Dr Hannah Barham-Brown, Deputy Leader of the Women’s Equality Party and disabled doctor added: “The study shows how Covid-19 disproportionately affected disabled women, and it’s devastating.

“What makes it worse is that this was a preventable crisis, caused by a total lack of planning and awareness of the reality of being disabled.”

The government will launch a public inquiry into the handling of the Covid-19 pandemic next spring.