Parliamentary history as assistant helps peer give speech

A piece of Parliamentary history was made today as Baroness Campbell of Surbiton, who uses a wheelchair, was allowed to make her speech during a debate in the House of Lords with the aid of her personal assistant for the first time.

Baroness Campbell previously asked the Procedure Committee whether she would be allowed to draw upon an assistant to provide practical help in the Chamber or Grand Committee in taking notes and sometimes, when unable to complete a speech, to read out the text on her behalf.

"I am even more delighted that I am accompanied by my assistant ... who will enable me to continue contributing to debates in Your Lordships' House," she said.

"I want to thank Your Lordships for your understanding and for agreeing to this new and unique arrangement. This, my Lords, is equality in action."

She went on to speak at length, before her assistant took over the reading of her speech for several minutes, allowing her to briefly rest her voice, before she completed her own speech.