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 – 6th November 2022

Nov 6, 2022 | News

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Bell’s Newsletter

6th November 2022

Dear *|FNAME|*,

This week, the Home Secretary stood up in Parliament and described asylum seekers arriving in the UK as “an invasion”. Suella Braverman’s words are exactly the kind of inflammatory rhetoric that stokes people towards acts of violence like last weekend’s petrol bombing in Dover. Her words show a Government hell-bent on denying people their legal rights and desperately trying to stoke divisions. Installed at the behest of the Tory Right, Braverman’s continued presence at the very top shows up Rishi Sunak’s claim that his premiership would bring a clean start.

People are being detained in overcrowded and uninhabitable conditions at Manston airfield, leading to scabies and diptheria outbreaks because of the Home Secretary’s law breaking decision to block transfers from the site. After a decade of decline, we’re now seeing the sharpest fall in living standards in living memory. That’s why the Tories are ramping up anti-refugee policies and rhetoric. They want people blaming refugees and migrants for the inequality and poverty inflicted by their policies.

There are 18 European countries that take in proportionally more asylum seekers than the UK. If the asylum system is broken, it’s because of the Tories’ dogged determination to keep people held up in the system and deny them their rights. The Government needs to spend less time trying to demonise people for seeking safety and more time processing their claims and integrating them into our communities.

Securing a Black Maternal Health Awareness Debate

Black Maternal Health Debate (2nd November 2022)

I secured a debate on Black Maternal Health this week. When the Government is asked to take action, they often claim they don’t have enough data. So I took the chance to highlight some of the reports outlining Black, Asian and minority ethnic women’s experiences of maternity care, which set out some of the issues pretty clearly. These included reports from Five X More, the Muslim Women’s Network, and Birthrights.

In 2022, Black women in the UK are four times more likely to die from pregnancy and childbirth than their white counterparts. Behind the harrowing statistics on Black maternal health, there are thousands of harrowing stories, which shine a light on the racial bias and discrimination that exist in maternity care. As well as addressing the socioeconomic factors driving poor health outcomes for Black mothers, we need to address disparities in maternity care by listening to these stories and acting on them.

Since I secured the first ever Black Maternal Health Awareness Week debate last year, there has been little discernible progress. It’s not enough for the Government to simply say they are listening. They need to move beyond words by setting binding targets to end racial health disparities in maternity care, as Labour has this week pledged to do. The colour of a mother’s skin should have no impact on her baby’s health or her own.

Ensuring Women can Access Healthcare Free from Harassment

I’ve written to Lambeth Council urging them to introduce buffer zones outside abortion clinics in our area. Legislation that would introduce such buffer zones as a matter of course is currently making its way through Parliament. But the escalation of anti-abortion demonstrations outside our local clinic in the wake of the US Supreme Court decision to roll back abortion rights makes it all the more pressing for us to get the ball rolling. It’s vital that women can access medical services without fear of harassment or intimidation.

Lambeth Youth Summit

It was great to meet with an informed and socially conscious group of young people at the Lambeth Youth Summit this weekend. We talked about the importance of registering to vote and the prospect of lowering the voting age to 16. Young people deserve meaningful input on the decisions that influence their lives. Our democracy is at its best when it engages and encourages everyone to have their say.

Visiting Holy Trinity C of E Primary

It was very special to be back at my old primary school, Holy Trinity Church of England Primary, for their Friday morning assembly. I’m keen to give young constituents a chance to put me on the spot and ask questions about politics and my role representing our area. I also had the opportunity to see the beautiful presentation Badger Class put together for Black History Month. It’s always so refreshing to see teachers taking the lead and integrating Black history into their classes.

Reading and Rehabilitation at HMP Brixton

On Friday morning, I also visited HMP Brixton to support the Reading Ahead project, a reading challenge for young people and adults delivered by libraries and learning settings. Reading Ahead asks participants to choose six reads, each of which they will subsequently review. Completers get a set of goodies, such as cotton bags, mugs, pens, dictionaries and bookmarks. HMP Brixton had over 150 completers, winning the gold certificate. It has been a difficult time on the prison estate over the last two years, with prisoners often locked up for more than 23 hours a day. This project has provided a real lifeline for inmates as part of their rehabilitation and retraining efforts.

General Election Now: People’s Assembly Demo

This weekend, thousands of people marched on Parliament with the People’s Assembly Against Austerity to demand an end to the Tory chaos with a General Election. There is no mandate for another unelected prime minister to inflict another round of austerity or public service cuts. We need to get the Tories out and get a Government in that is capable of rebuilding our country in the face of the cost of living emergency and climate breakdown.

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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