CROYDON Central MP Gavin Barwell's legislation on mental health officially passes into law today (Friday).
The Mental Health (Discrimination) Bill aims to break down barriers that infringe the rights of people with mental health problems, and bars them from participating in jury service or becoming a company director.
It also changes a law which stipulates MPs will lose their seats if they are sectioned under the Mental Health Act for more than six months, even if they make a full recovery.
Three leading organisations – the Royal College of Psychiatrists, and mental health charities Mind and Rethink Mental Illness – have backed the legislation.
Paul Farmer, chief executive of Mind, said: "This is a hugely important day for anyone affected by mental health problems and a watershed moment for attitudes to mental health."
Mr Barwell said: "To our shame, the law still discriminates against those with a mental health condition.
"As well as stopping this, the Bill sends a clear message from Parliament that discrimination is wrong: that people have a right to be judged as individuals, not labelled or stereotyped.
"As a society we still have a long way to go to tackle the forms of discrimination and the inequalities that people with mental illness face."
Meanwhile, Croydon South MP Richard Ottaway's Scrap Metal Dealers Bill – an attempt to crack down on the scourge of metal theft – has also become an Act of Parliament.