Liberal Democrat leader Ed Davey says his wife wants to be a voice for carers with disabilities
Tap above to watch video report by political correspondent Simon Harris
Liberal Democrat leader Ed Davey has said it's "important" to bring the issue of disabled carers into public debate following his wife's disclosure that she has multiple sclerosis.
The Kingston and Surbiton MP told ITV News his wife Emily Gasson has revealed her diagnosis because she wants to "to represent people who’ve got caring responsibilities".
The couple jointly care for their 15-year-old son, John, who has a neurological condition that means he requires 24-hour care.
"There are millions of families who are struggling with caring responsibilities and they don’t often get a voice in politics," Mr Davey, 57, said.
"One of the reasons why Emily wanted to speak out was because she wants to represent people who’ve got caring responsibilities, who’ve got disabilities and wants to make sure whether it’s the council level - or with me, her husband, at national level - that we are campaigning for people who are carers, who have disabilities."
Ms Gasson, 52, told The Guardian she was diagnosed 10 years ago and that her MS had worsened "since lockdown".
However, in a joint interview, the couple said while MS is widely understood to be a severe disability, 85% of cases - like Ms Gasson's - are the "relapsing remitting" form that means there can be long periods without an attack.
"It can be serious, but not in Emily’s case. She’s bloomin’ active," he said.
"We’re very fortunate," Mr Davey said. "We get a lot of support from Emily’s family and obviously we have decent salaries."
Ms Gasson, who oversees the housing brief for Kingston Council, said she is hoping to make ground floor access available to physically disabled residents in the borough.
"I’ve got people with mobility scooters whose neighbours are carrying them down tower blocks," she said.
"Unlike a lot of families that have these challenges we’re able to afford some help and support."
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