Wheelchair-bound MP falls from disabled access ramp before speech on “policies for the handicapped”

There really could not have been a less edifying moment. Bloco de Esquerda MP Jorge Falcato propelled his wheelchair towards the podium in parliament yesterday – to give a speech on policies for handicapped people – when the ramp newly-installed to take disabled people to the podium tipped him promptly into it, causing the MP to fall heavily forwards.

As all reports explain, this was meant to be the first ‘trial’ of the ramp “in action”, and a moment of triumph within the House.

Journalists, MPs and parliamentary staff were all in evidence, waiting in hushed expectation.

But as the ramp “malfunctioned” (click here) and BE colleagues rushed to Falcato’s aid, Jorge Lacão standing in for President of the Republican Assembly Ferro Rodrigues did his best to gloss over the mishap, saying it was an example of “breaking through architectural barriers” and showing “the various public and private entities of our country that we can all strive towards the full exercise of people’s rights”.

It has not been reported what Falcato had to say about the episode, but Lacão commended what he called the MP’s “determination and obstinacy” to resounding applause.