Pendle MP Andrew Stephenson joined broadcaster and former footballer Chris Kamara and his constituent Pam Slater at a Westminster event to learn more about a debilitating speech disorder.

The Parliamentary reception was held to raise awareness of verbal dyspraxia (DVD) – also known as childhood apraxia of speech (CAS).

Mr Kamara, who revealed his own speech and language difficulties in an ITV documentary last year, spoke about the condition.

The House of Commons events was also addressed by Mikey Akers who was recognised at the age of 16 by the Prime Minister for founding Mikey’s Wish – an organisation which raises awareness of verbal dyspraxia.

Lancashire-based campaigner Pam Slater, who is one of Mr Stephenson’s Pendle constituents, also made the journey to Westminster to attend the reception.

DVD/CAS is a rare and serious motor speech disorder which reduces the intelligibility of speech.

It is present from birth and will not resolve without specialist speech and language therapy intervention.

Children with DVD/CAS require specialist speech and language therapy support to communicate and interact effectively with those around them.

However, access to therapists experienced in dealing with DVD/CAS is patchy across the UK.

There is just a single national centre specialising in the speech sound disorder – the Paediatric Speech Clinic at Royal National Ear Nose and Throat and Eastman Dental Hospital in London.

Mr Stephenson said, “It was great to hear more about the work being done to provide speech therapy to children with verbal dyspraxia as well as what more can be done in future.

"It’s clear that access to speech therapy is crucial for children with verbal dyspraxia, and it was moving to hear Chris Kamara and others speak about their own personal experience.

“That Pam Slater, whose campaigning efforts I’ve been working to support, was able to attend was wonderful and important for efforts to raise awareness in Pendle and across Lancashire.”