A FATHER is fighting to make the Royal Air Force subject to disability discrimination laws and overturn a decision to ban his son from joining the Services.

Teenager Samuel Buckley had his lifelong dream shattered when he was involved in a road traffic accident three weeks ago.

The accident left the 17-year-old fighting for life in intensive care after his Honda 125cc bike was in collision with a Renault Megane in Edenfield.

He was rushed to hospital with abdominal injuries and a broken collarbone before medics were forced to carry out an emergency operation to remove his spleen due to internal bleeding.

He now faces a life time of taking antibiotics to build up his immune system - which RAF chiefs say constitutes an automatic bar from joining the forces.

Today Rossendale MP Janet Anderson vowed to take up the fight and appeal to bosses at the Ministry of Defence.

Samuel, who has been attending Whitefield cadets since he was 13, had recently passed the RAF examinations.

He said: "I have spent most of my life dreaming about being in the RAF and now it's all over with just like that. I wanted to be an engineer but now I'm going to have to totally re-think my career. It seems so unfair."

His dad Garry Buckley, 49, who lives with wife Marie, 37, and their son Michael, in Millar Barn Lane, Waterfoot, said: "I am going to take this as far as I can.

"I am going to ask Janet Anderson to raise it in Parliament as it seems wrong that other employers have to abide to disability discrimination regulations yet a major employer like the RAF is exempt leaving them to ignore whole sections of the community."

A spokesman for the Ministry of Defence said: "Members of the Armed Forces need to be fit for service as they are asked to go into places where conditions can be tough because of various factors including heat and difficult living conditions.

"We need to make sure they can live comfortably and safely and therefore they need to meet certain criteria. Unfortunately there are many reasons why an application might be rejected and removal of the spleen would be one of them."

Mr Buckley added: "This has been Samuel's ambition since he was 11 but now all his dreams have been shattered.

"It's a devastating blow for the whole family as we all know how much he wanted to join the RAF. Although he's going to have to take the antibiotics for the rest of his life he wouldn't need to go to places like the jungles of South America. There would be enough work in Europe where he would not be exposed to the same risks of infections."

Julio Romo, of disabled rights charity Scope, said: "We believe that the Armed Forces' exclusion from the Disability Discrimination Act is wrong.

"Discriminating disabled people from the forces confirms a disablist culture where people cannot see beyond an individual's impairment.

"Disabled people have a lot to offer the Royal Air Force, Royal Navy and the Army. Disabled people should be considered for duty based on their ability and not their impairment.

"Organisations in the private, public and voluntary sectors are already doing this and are reaping the rewards from a diverse and highly qualified employment pool."

Mrs Anderson said: "It seems a very unfortunate situation. I have not spoken to Mr Buckley yet but I will try and contact him today and will then take this matter up with the Ministry of Defence to see if anything can be done."

A spokesman for the Disability Rights Commission said the RAF was not breaking any laws but added: "In recent years progress has been made with the police as they now employ people with disabilities but changing that in the Armed Forces and the RAF is a long way off as it is backed by a European Directive."