An autistic man asking a question at a political 'hustings' style event in Edinburgh

Representatives from the main political parties were grilled by disabled people and families at a ‘hustings’ style Q and A event organised by National Autistic Society Scotland and partners.

More than 100 disabled people and their families, carers and professionals attended the national hustings event which took place on Thursday 5 December at Augustine United Church, Edinburgh.

Sheila Gilmore from the Scottish Labour Party, Tommy Shepard from the Scottish National Party, Caron Lindsay from the Scottish Liberal Democrats, Iain McGill from the Scottish Conservative Party and Elaine Gunn from the Scottish Green Party answered questions on subjects including education, attitudes towards disabled people, transport, social security as well as health and social care.

David Weir, an autistic attendee who asked a question to the panel said:

The event was really important because it gave autistic people like me an opportunity to have our voices heard by the parties.

“I always vote and encourage other autistic people to vote. I feel that many politicians don’t listen – so the more disabled people speaking up the more they will understand the challenges we face and hopefully do something about it.”

Nick Ward, Director of National Autistic Society Scotland, and hustings Chair said:

“Much of this election campaign in Scotland has focused on Brexit with the concerns of disabled people and families side-lined.

One in five people in Scotland are disabled, including 58,000 autistic people – that’s a huge part of the population whose voices must be heard and respected by those seeking election.

I hope the party representatives were able to understand first-hand the wide range of issues and challenges that disabled people families face and commit to take action.”