Huw Merriman, is the new Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Autism following the recent death of his colleague Dame Cheryl Gillan, who previously led the group and was a long-standing advocate for autistic people and their families.
At the group’s annual general meeting held earlier this week, members paid tribute to Dame Cheryl’s drive and passion in working to ensure Government and Parliament took more account of autistic people and the need to improve support. The APPG will be meeting again shortly to review the Government’s upcoming Autism Strategy, which is set to be published in mid-May.
Mr Merriman was previously vice-chair of the group and worked with his colleagues to bring together parliamentarians, autistic people and their families to understand what more needs to be done to support them and help them flourish.
Commenting, Mr Merriman, MP for the Bexhill and Battle constituency, said: “Over the coming weeks, months and years, I know members of the APPG will work hard together to continue Dame Cheryl’s remarkable legacy, which has left very big boots to fill. It is a huge shame that she will not be with us to review the Autism Strategy, but it is clear from the many touching tributes to her great dedication to this cause that her passion has been passed on to members and will serve them well in advocating for autistic people in her sad absence.”