Bell Ribeiro-Addy

Bell Ribeiro-Addy, Labour Candidate for Clapham & Brixton Hill
From Clapham & Brixton Hill, For Clapham & Brixton Hill

Please note: Parliament has now been dissolved until after the General Election, meaning I am no longer an MP.

Bell’s Regular Newsletter – 27th May

May 27, 2023 | News

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Bell’s Newsletter

27th May 2023

Dear *|FNAME|*,

The Government brought its latest piece of anti-worker legislation back before Parliament this week. Monday evening saw MPs considering the Lords amendments on the Minimum Service Levels Bill. As I’ve maintained since this Bill was introduced before Parliament, this legislation was never intended to ensure minimum service levels in our public services on strike days; but to stop stopping workers in our public services from demanding them. I voted for amendments designed to counter the damaging impact of this legislation. Nobody should be sacked for demanding a fair deal at work.

Bell holds a Labour Unions sign that says 'Defend the Right to Strike'

On Tuesday, I also voted in favour of Labour Opposition Day motions on leasehold reform and school building safety. Labour’s first motion urged the Government to keep its promise to the millions of people living in leasehold properties and end this feudal system of ownership. Our second motion sought to map out the state of school building disrepair after thirteen years of the Tories running down our infrastructure.

On Wednesday, I voted for amendments to the EU Retained Law Bill. This legislation paves the way for the Government to change or remove hundreds of baseline environmental, employment and consumer protections, without proper Parliamentary oversight. It should be those who the public vote to represent them, not ministers and civil servants in back rooms in Whitehall, who get the final say on laws that affect our daily lives.

Reparations: Pushing the Conversation Forwards

Bell poses for a photo with Lord Anthony Gifford KC and Leigh Day Partner Jacqui McKenzie, and Leigh Day Trainee, Walker Syachalinga

On Tuesday night, I was honoured to host a parliamentary panel put on by law firm Leigh Day with the support of the APPG on African Reparations. We heard from some some eminent guests including Lord Anthony Gifford KC (Barrister and member of Jamaica’s National Council on Reparations), David Commissiong (Lawyer and Barbados’ Ambassador to CARICOM), Jacqui McKenzie (Leigh Day Partner), Verene Shepherd (vice-chair, CARICOM Commission on Reparations) and Walker Syachalinga (Leigh Day Trainee). When a country commits an international crime like genocide, it is supposed to make amends to the victims, including the descendants of the original victims who still suffer the consequences of the crime. We had a wide-ranging discussion about how this might be pursued via legal means. Crimes against humanity warrant reparations.

I also appeared on a discussion on Al Jazeera with the former BBC journalist and Heirs of Slavery founder, Laura Trevelyan, and  American historian Uju Anya. We discussed the Government’s refusal to offer a formal apology (or even express regret) for the Transatlantic Slave Trade at Prime Minister’s Question Time.

Watch The Stream Here

Starting the Race for Life

Bell helps a small child to operate a foghorn as Race For Life participants get underway at the start line. One waves to the child.

Congratulations to everyone who took part in Cancer Research UK’s Race for Life on Clapham Common this morning to raise funds to fight cancer. It was an honour to be there to support the event and get the races underway. Over 8 million people have participated in the Race for Life in the past 20 years, raising over £547 million to fund the charity’s life-saving work. I welcome these fundraising efforts. Cancer is something that will affect all of us in one way or another throughout our lives and it’s so important that efforts to fight it are properly resourced.

Attending CAFOD’s Parliamentary Reception

Bell with her constituent Andrea who campaigns for CAFOD, in front of a CAFOD banner.

It was great to meet with CAFOD on Monday at the invitation of my constituent Jack to speak about the organisation’s work fighting global hunger. I recently visited Kenya with CAFOD to see how they are supporting communities on the frontline of climate breakdown and hunger crisis. With Eastern Africa facing its worst drought in 40 years and millions facing starvation, the UK must continue its support for this vital work and to the region. I was proud to stand on a manifesto proposing an aid-funded Food Sovereignty Fund to enable small-scale farmers in the Global South to gain access to land, seeds and finance, and uphold indigenous peoples’ land rights.

Visit to Brixton Prison

Bell with Councillor Marianna Masters and a Pact team member in front of the Pact Family Visitors' Centre

I had a very informative visit to HMP Brixton yesterday to meet the Prison Advice and Care Trust (Pact) team alongside Councillor Marianna Masters. It was good to speak to prisoners on the wings and find out more about Pact’s vital work supporting the rehabilitation of current and former prisoners.

Endometriosis Film Screening: ‘All Up There’

Bell in a parliamentary committee room with the film's director Bonnie McCrae and other endometriosis campaigners.

This week, I hosted two film screenings about important and commonly overlooked healthcare issues. On Monday, I hosted a screening of a short film about the complexities coming of age with Endometriosis, ‘All Up There’ – directed by Bonnie McCrae. Endometriosis affects over 1.5 million women across the UK, including me. Women with this condition experience pain on a daily basis but often wait years for a diagnosis. As well as more research into the condition, we also need to see better workplace protections, flexible working rights and a more open culture around menstrual health.

Film Screening: Black Blood
& Organ Donors Needed

Bell introduces the screening of 'A Living Legacy' in front of a packed parliamentary committee room

On Thursday, I also hosted a screening of ‘A Living Legacy’ a film made by Action on Blood to raise awareness of the urgent need for more Black blood and organ donors. This is a brilliant film that breaks down this issue in a very human way. I hope to see it touring widely over the coming months to help get the message out there. With 250 donations now needed every day for sickle cell patients and demand only likely to grow, we urgently need more people from Black ethnicities to come forwards and give blood. Just fifteen minutes of your time can save someone else’s life. Ethnically matched blood provides the best treatment for sickle cell, keeping those most severely affected healthy and enabling them to lead fulfilling lives. With thousands of new Black blood donors required, I want to see the Government exploring further reforms around blood donation too.

Sort the System Lobby:
Discussing Electoral Reform

Bell with the constituents who came to lobby her, standing in Westminster Hall

Thank you to constituents who came to Westminster to discuss the question of Proportional Representation and wider electoral reform. Labour’s 2019 General Election manifesto supported a UK-wide Constitutional Convention to deal with electoral reforms and help revive our democracy. First. I recognise that our current electoral system leaves much to be desired and often fails to properly reflect our electorate as a whole, massively inflating the Tory vote in particular. It’s clear we need a whole range of electoral reforms to increase participation and revive our democratic processes. I believe any future Labour Government should start by lowering the voting age to 16, extending the franchise to all UK residents, and repealing discriminatory voter ID laws.

Meeting with the National Union of Students

I met with officers from the National Union of Students this week, who asked for my support on their campaign to address the cost of living crisis for students and on their student voter registration campaign. Soaring living costs are impacting students especially hard given that maintenance loans have not kept pace with inflation whilst rents have skyrocketed. Too many young people feel alienated and excluded from our political system. I welcome the NUS’s efforts to raise awareness of the Voter ID reform, register students to vote, and add Student and Young Person’s ID Cards to the list of recognised ID.

As ever, if you have any questions about the work I’m doing as MP, please get in touch at this address: bell.ribeiroaddy.mp@parliament.uk.

Best wishes,

Bell Ribeiro-Addy,
Labour MP for Streatham

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