Old name, new purpose: why we’ve gone back to RNID

  1. Home
  2. News and stories
  3. Deaf BSL users excluded: no BSL interpreter for new Prime Minister’s first speech

Deaf BSL users excluded: no BSL interpreter for new Prime Minister’s first speech

Watch this page in BSL
An illustration of a man and woman standing at a podium, delivering a speech to an audience with the woman translating into BSL.

On 18 June, the Telegraph published a letter from RNID calling for the two main political parties to commit to providing a British Sign Language interpreter for the new Prime Minister’s first speech to the nation. Hundreds of supporters joined our call, but our request was simply ignored by Number 10 Downing Street. 

RNID and the British Deaf Association are incredibly disappointed that no BSL interpreter was provided for the new PM’s first address to the nation. Harriet Oppenheimer, Chief Executive at RNID and Rebecca Mansell, Chief Executive at the British Deaf Association (BDA), said:

Today, we saw the new Prime Minister start his new term of office by knowingly excluding thousands of Deaf BSL users across the UK. This was both deeply disrespectful and plainly undemocratic. 

Under the BSL Act 2022 the UK Government committed in law to promote and facilitate the use of BSL in its communications with the public. Deaf people should have been treated as equal citizens and given the right to share in this historic moment at the same time as everyone else.  

Providing a BSL interpreter would have sent a signal that Deaf BSL users are equal in the eyes of this new government. It would have drawn a line beneath the shocking record of the previous administration for excluding deaf people from the national conversation. Instead, this opportunity to start afresh was deliberately not taken. 

RNID and the British Deaf Association are committed to achieving genuine equality and inclusion for Deaf BSL users in the UK. Our work will never stop until we reach this goal, and we ask the new government to work with us to achieve this.” 

More like this

Back to top