Jim Cunningham, MP for Coventry South, and the Right Honourable Kevin Barron, MP for Rother Valley, were announced as winners of the Diabetes UK Parliamentary Champion Award at the House of Commons on Wednesday 27 January.
The eight nominations for the award were announced throughout 2009 and the winners were chosen by Diabetes UK campaigners, staff and website visitors. The award aims to recognise politicians who have gone above and beyond the call of duty in raising awareness of diabetes in Parliament.
Jim Cunningham became heavily involved in the charity’s campaign to improve support given to children with diabetes in schools after meeting his constituent, Alick Doggett, at the Diabetes UK children’s lobby in November 2008.
As well as tabling many questions on this issue, Mr Cunningham agreed to use his Private Members’ Bill to ensure that all children with long-term conditions, like diabetes, are properly supported in school. The Schools (Health Support) Bill was presented to the House on 21 January 2009 and Diabetes UK worked closely with Jim in the run up to its second reading on 8 May 2009.
“It’s a great honour to receive this award," said Jim Cunningham.
"We currently have a postcode lottery with regard to the support given to children with diabetes in school and too many children are still not receiving the assistance they need to enjoy a full and active school life. I am delighted that my Bill and involvement in Diabetes UK’s campaign has helped improve awareness and understanding of the issue.”
Mr Barron’s involvement with the charity during 2009 included hosting Diabetes UK’s 75th Anniversary Reception in January. He was a co-sponsor of the Schools (Health Support) Bill and has supported Diabetes UK’s campaign to improve support for children with health conditions in schools.
Mr Barron also chairs the Health Select Committee and Diabetes UK has welcomed the committee’s recent calls for traffic-light nutrition labelling on food. Diabetes UK strongly supports the use of traffic light labelling as it is clearer and easier for people to understand. This helps people to manage their diabetes and raises awareness of obesity which is one of the main causes of Type 2 diabetes.
Kevin Barron said: “It’s a great honour to receive this award. Diabetes is a serious condition which affects three million people in the country including half a million who are not even aware they have the condition.
"I am pleased that my involvement with Diabetes UK has helped raise awareness in Parliament and I will continue to push diabetes up the political agenda.”
Richard Lane OBE, President of Diabetes UK, who is pictured here presenting the awards to the MPs, said: “Mr Cunningham and Mr Barron’s contributions to raising awareness of diabetes in parliamentary circles has been invaluable.
"I would like to convey my sincere thanks to them on behalf of people with diabetes and Diabetes UK.”