Bell Ribeiro-Addy MP

Member of Parliament for Streatham (and parts of Balham, Clapham Common, Tulse Hill and Brixton Hill)
Prospective Parliamentary Candidate for Clapham & Brixton Hill

Bell’s Regular Newsletter – 18th June

Jun 18, 2022 | News

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Bell’s Newsletter

18th June 2022

Dear *|FNAME|*,

Just in case anyone was doubting their law-breaking credentials, the Tories surpassed themselves this week. The week began with efforts to deport refugees en masse to Rwanda. As the UN High Commissioner for refugees pointed out this week, this plan “violates the fundamental principles of refugees”. It was only thwarted in the European Court of Human Rights, which the Government is now wants to take the UK out of. The only two other countries to do this are Putin’s Russia (this year) and the Greek military dictatorship more than fifty years ago.

The Government also published a shameful Bill this week that would rip up the Northern Ireland Protocol they negotiated just over 18 months ago. This is a threat to peace in Northern Ireland and represents a breach of international law. It also has obvious implications for future trade deals (good luck negotiating trade deals when nobody can trust that you will stick to them).

Finally, in news that will surprise exactly no one, Boris Johnson’s ethics adviser has resigned this week, the second person to do so during his tenure as PM. This farce is a reminder that we are still stuck in a groundhog day of revelations without repercussions. When we finally get this shower out of government, it’s absolutely vital that we strengthen standards in public life to clean up Westminster politics.

In and around Streatham

Opposing the Sell-Off of our Local Surgeries

Warning people about the sell-off with protesters early last year.

Last year, the Government allowed American healthcare company Centene to buy up 49 GP surgeries across London through its UK subsidiary Operose Health – including three right here in our constituency. This week, a BBC Panorama exposé revealed how this company is endangering safety in the pursuit of profit, with staff shortages, underqualified medical and administrative staff and massive referral backlogs.

The US corporate takeover of our health services isn’t a distant threat, but a present reality. Instead of pouring NHS money into the coffers of corner-cutting US corporations, the Government must reinstate our NHS as a fully public service that works for people, not profit. I’ve consistently campaigned for these surgeries to be taken out of Operose Health’s hands and run by a company that can deliver the standard of service that people in Streatham deserve and will continue to do so.

Refugees Welcome: Opposing the Hostile Environment

Opposing the Government's Rwanda Deportation Plans (13th June 2022)

The Government’s Rwanda deportation plans are nothing more than state-sanctioned people trafficking. Their deranged insistence on pushing ahead with this week’s ÂŁ500,000 flight is an incredibly expensive way to demonstrate their racist credentials and commitment to persecuting refugees. I was proud to join protesters on Monday ahead of the flight to show the scale of opposition to the inhumane treatment of people who just want to rebuild their lives here in safety. Instead of subjecting people who’ve fled war, persecution and climate breakdown to further upheaval and trauma, we should be taking in our fair share of refugees and giving them a fair chance to rebuild their lives in safety.

On Thursday, I joined South London Refugee Association for a beautiful event to commemorate ten years since the launch of the Hostile Environment. From Go Home vans to the Windrush Scandal and Rwanda deportations, this has ruined countless lives. But recent events show communities fighting back against the attacks on our neighbours, friends, and loved ones, and resisting scapegoating. It should be obvious to anyone that refugees are not responsible for problems with housing, healthcare and education; these are the responsibility of the government that has been in power for the last twelve years.

Conference of the Black Child

Last Saturday was a very special occasion, marking 35 years since the first Black MPs were elected to Parliament. It was great to join the longest serving of them, Diane Abbott MP, to celebrate this momentous date. What more fitting way to mark the day than with a conference to explore how we can build a school system where children can learn free from racism. It was great to chair the plenary panel on the Conference for the Black Child at Stoke Newington School and discuss dismantling racism in schools with inspiring educators, activists and trade unionists.

World Blood Donor Day

World Blood Donation Day

The shortage of Black blood donors in the UK means we urgently need more people from African and Caribbean communities to come forwards and give blood. That’s why I recently took part in the Bonded by Blood donation drive in memory of Richard Okorogheye. On World Blood Donor Day, I urged people to come forwards and give blood and reiterated my call for the Government to do its part too. Discriminatory blood donation laws were removed last year, but they still cast a long shadow. With thousands of new Black Blood donors required, the Government must work to build community confidence, make giving blood inclusive & ensure everyone’s healthcare needs are met

Register to Become a Blood Donor Today

In Parliament

Labour Opposition Days

This week, Labour held an Opposition Day on Passport Office delays and the proposed privatisation of Channel Four. Boris Johnson recently claimed at PMQs that everybody is getting their passport within six weeks. In reality, his own data shows that over people faced ten-week plus Passport Office delays in the first three months of 2021 alone. Labour highlighted the Government failures behind this: from staffing cuts to their inability to prepare for the summer spike in demand, and refusals to hold outsourcing companies to account for overcharging, underperforming, and still losing hundreds of passports every year.

I was also happy to vote for our motion calling for an apology in light of this and support the motion opposing the privatisation of Channel Four, which would be an act of cultural and economic vandalism. We can’t let them take an axe to Channel Four just because they’re determined to destroy any institution that holds them to account.

Have you been waiting months for a passport or driving licence? Have your travel plans been disrupted? Are you still waiting for a hospital appointment?

Sign the Labour petition to fix Backlog Britain

We Need a Comprehensive Ban on Conversion Therapy

LGBT+ conversion therapy is more accurately described as torture. It must be banned in all forms and in its use against all members of the LGBT+ community. I was unable to get in on this week’s debate on Trans Conversion Therapy but from the hundreds of emails I’ve received from constituents, the opposition to this in our constituency couldn’t be clearer. We need a ban on conversion therapy that protects everyone – not least because conversion therapy for sexual orientation and gender identity can be intrinsically linked. This may well mean that in practice, excluding conversion therapy targeting gender identity from the ban would weaken attempts to implement any ban.

Human Rights Under Attack

It was great to join my colleagues Abena Oppong-Asare MP and Janet Daby MP to meet with a delegation from the Parliament of Ghana this week. As Ghana’s Parliament considers legislation to criminalise LGBTQ+ rights and our own Government threatens to rip up so many of our hard-won rights, we discussed the importance of protecting and promoting human rights, which are coming under attack in both our countries.

As ever, if you have any questions about the work I’m doing as MP, please get in touch at this address:

Best wishes,

Bell Ribeiro-Addy,
Labour MP for Streatham

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