July 20, 2008

‘Lunatics’ Ban in Parliament May Be Lifted

British government officials say they are considering doing away with laws banning people labeled idiots and lunatics from running for Parliament.

Justice Minister Bridget Prentice plans to hold a meeting to discuss throwing out the laws after they prompted negative feedback from members of Parliament and mental health organizations, The Times of London reported Sunday.

The rules consider idiots as people incapable of gaining reason and lunatics as those capable of periods of lucidity.

The laws prevent lunatics from standing for Parliament in their non-lucid intervals. People listed under the Mental Health Act are not allowed to seek election, regardless of whether they recover.

Some mental health charity groups say the laws are unfair and should be scrapped.

People who have suffered mental health problems can function at a very high level, said a spokesman for Mind, a mental health charity.