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Corrie star blasts Tory Government

Cherylee Houston close to tears at the Mirror’s Disabled Britain: Doing it for ourselves event
Cherylee Houston close to tears at the Mirror’s Disabled Britain: Doing it for ourselves event Image credit: mirror.co.uk

Coronation Street actor Cherylee Houston has blamed the government for the number of disabled people who lost their lives during the Covid19 pandemic.

The 48-year-old, who has cerebral palsy and plays Izzy Armstrong in ITV’s long-running soap, criticised Tory MP’s after they failed to provide British Sign Language interpreters for their daily televised press conferences.

Speaking at the Mirror’s Disabled Britain: Doing it for ourselves event at the Labour conference, Houston said: “People were dying because of that lack of information.

It was just outrageous that people were being left to die.”

Shadow Minister for Disabled People Vicky Foxcroft, who asked for BSL to be used in the 2020 briefings said: “It’s not rocket science - you’d get things right if you just went and did it.”

The service was provided by the BBC, but was not available in the Downing Street briefing room.

Houston, who has Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome Type III hypermobility and has used a wheelchair since the age of 23, said: ““When Covid happened and the nation was addressed, there were no sign language interpreters, there was no easy read.

“So immediately, members of our community weren’t told this information and people were dying because of that lack of information.”

She added: “It was just outrageous that people were being left to die. People were not being told there was a killer disease out there. In Scotland, from Day One they had a sign language interpreter.”

Trying to hold back tears the actor continued: “It makes me want to cry every time.

Because if we were put on that agenda, we wouldn’t have had that many people die.

“That’s abhorrent. The emotion comes because it’s that frustration that we’re not seen as human.”

Mirror guest editor Rahel Charlton-Dally, who chaired the panel, said: “For a lot of people the pandemic’s over but we’re still having to be really careful.”

Houston went on to slam the government for making cuts to disabled benefits  after hearing how vulnerable people are struggling with their finances.

“People went from 24 hour care to sitting in incontinence pads - choosing, when do you decide to go and wee because nobody’s coming for another four hours,” she said.

Houston also shared a story about a disabled woman who used to attend festivals. But “then these cuts happened and she was sat in an incontinence pad in her own home.

“And when she fought back to get more, she said she had three people in her home with clipboards, watching her go to the toilet and shower. That’s not human - that’s not how we should be treated.”

She added: “We’re now fighting for basic human rights that we fought for for many many centuries.”

Charlee Houston has also featured in The Bill, Holby City, Emmerdale and Little Britain.