MPs united across the political divide to take a major step toward ending the stigma surrounding mental health today.
After an emotion-charged debate, they backed a Private Members Bill designed to sweep away archaic rules preventing people with mental health issues from taking part in public life.
Labour shadow health minister Diane Abbott pledged full backing for the Bill, declaring: "Mental health is probably the last remaining great area of stigma in public life."
Ms Abbott said it was "striking" that MPs had been willing to come out about their sexuality before any had dared recently to come out about their mental health issues.
Former Labour defence minister Kevan Jones confessed that he still suffered "black dog days" as a result of depression.
Mr Jones said he had received thousands of supportive letters and emails since he spoke out about his mental health in a Commons debate in June.
Among those who expressed support as fellow sufferers were a retired army general and a very senior chief executive for a large local authority in the north.
Broxbourne Tory MP Charles Walker, who has also spoken openly about his mental health, hailed the widespread support yesterday for the Mental Health (Discrimination) Bill introduced by Croydon Central Tory MP Gavin Barwell.
Declaring it "a day of celebration," Mr Walker added: "This is certainly one of the greatest days of my life."
Presenting his Bill, Mr Barwell emphasised that having a mental health condition was "nothing to be ashamed of" and should not be kept secret.
Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg issued a statement pledging that the government would fully support the Bill, which received an unopposed second reading today.
However, when Mr Clegg's backing was announced to MPs, Kevan Jones intervened from the Labour benches with a cautionary comment.
Mr Clegg's "track record of getting things through has not been very good," he quipped.
The Bill, which still has to go through further Parliamentary stages, would sweep away legislation barring any MP who is sectioned under the Mental Health Act for more than six months.
It would also end the blanket ban on anyone receiving treatment for mental health serving on a jury, and stop company directors being removed simply "by reason of their mental health."
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