British Sign Language trial for PMQs

05 February 2020

The House of Commons is to trial live British Sign Language (BSL) interpretation of Prime Minister’s Questions starting with today's PMQs.

This is a pilot trial building on previous work with BSL interpreters, including providing live BSL interpretation for Westminster Hall debates and a select committee evidence session in 2019.

Parliament TV

Live BSL interpretation will be available for PMQs on parliamentlive.tv.

Speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle: "I am delighted"

Sir Lindsay Hoyle, Speaker of the House of Commons, who championed the use of BSL in Westminster Hall, stated:

“Everyone deserves to be able to follow our flagship event of the week – so I am delighted that we will have sign language interpreters to make this a reality for deaf people.

“This initiative chimes with my commitment to make our parliamentary proceedings accessible and as clear as possible to everyone. I would like to thank all those who have worked to make this happen.”  

Dr Roger Wicks, Action on Hearing Loss: "a welcome step forward"

Dr Roger Wicks, Director of Policy and Campaigns at Action on Hearing Loss, said:

“We are delighted that the House of Commons is taking steps to improve the accessibility of Prime Minister’s Questions for deaf people by trialling British Sign Language interpretation. 

“The Deaf community shouldn’t be shut out of political discourse, or denied the information needed to become informed participants within our democracy – any measures taken by the House to remove the barriers to participation and improve accessibility for deaf people is both a positive and welcome step forward.”

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