In a letter co-ordinated by Streatham MP Bell Ribeiro-Addy, 50 MPs and peers have written to Boris Johnson calling for a public inquiry into the death of transport worker, Belly Mujinga.1
Their call follows an earlier letter to the Prime Minister from family lawyers, Equal Justice Solicitors.2
On the 21st of March, Belly and Motolani Sunmola, another Govia Thameslink Railway (GTR) employee were spat at by a customer, whilst working on the main concourse of Victoria station. Belly, who had an underlying respiratory condition, subsequently contracted coronavirus and died in Barnet Hospital on the 5th of April.
After an investigation lasting 19 days, the British Transport Police concluded there was insufficient evidence to charge anyone with the crime.
The British Transport Police subsequently referred the decision to the Crown Prosecution Service, who concluded there were not any grounds to alter the original police decision.
The parliamentarians’ letter calls on Boris Johnson to launch a public inquiry into Belly’s death, citing unanswered questions including concerns over her employer’s handling of the case and highlighting the disproportionate impact of coronavirus on frontline workers and individuals from BAME communities.
Bell Ribeiro-Addy MP (Streatham, Labour), who wrote the letter, said:
“Belly’s family deserves answers. It’s clear that there are unanswered questions about the incident in question, as well as her employer’s conduct in this situation.
We need to get a full understanding of what happened and why, to prevent the same thing from happening all over again.”
- Full text of the letter below along with list of signatories.
- Letter from lawyers attached.
Dear Prime Minister,
We write to you to call for a public inquiry into the death of Belly Mujinga.
As you will no doubt be aware, Belly and her colleague, Motolani Sunmola, both employees of Govia Thameslink Railway (GTR) were spat at by a customer at Victoria station on 21st March. Belly, who had an underlying health condition, subsequently contracted coronavirus and died in Barnet Hospital on the 5th of April.
It is clear that there are unanswered questions about the incident in question, as well as her employer’s conduct in this situation. We are highly concerned by reports that Belly and her colleague were sent out onto the Victoria station concourse by GTR without adequate PPE, and on the basis of bad medical advice. As a government contractor, GTR must be held to the highest standards on both workplace safety and anti-discrimination practice. We all know that whilst the coronavirus has highlighted the issue of safety at work, every year thousands suffer work-related illnesses, injuries and deaths. Safety at work is a right, not a privilege.
Belly’s death is sad evidence of a wider trend. Black people are statistically more likely to work in frontline jobs where they cannot work from home, placing them at heightened risk of contracting the virus. Government statistics have repeatedly shown how frontline workers and Black people are both at a heightened risk of dying from coronavirus during the pandemic. According to ONS data published in June, Black women are two and a half times more likely to die with COVID-19 than white women.
It is paramount that we get to the bottom of the circumstances surrounding Belly Mujinga’s death. With coronavirus cases once again spiralling out of control in the UK, we need to understand the failings of the past to protect the most vulnerable in the near future.
We therefore join the two million people who signed her family’s petition in calling for justice and urge the government to hold a public inquiry into the full circumstances of her death.
Labour MP for Streatham
Diane Abbott MP, Hannah Bardell MP, Paula Barker MP, Apsana Begum MP, Olivia Blake MP, Baroness Christine Blower, Baroness Pauline Bryan, Dawn Butler MP, Richard Burgon MP, Ian Byrne MP, Baroness Shami Chakrabarti CBE, Sarah Champion MP, Jeremy Corbyn MP, Stella Creasy MP, Jon Cruddas MP, Allan Dorans MP, Dr Stephen Farry MP, Claire Hanna MP, Lord John Hendy QC, Wera Hobhouse MP, Rachel Hopkins MP, George Howarth MP, Christine Jardine MP, Kim Johnson MP, Ian Lavery MP, Clive Lewis MP, Tony Lloyd MP, Caroline Lucas MP, Siobhain McDonagh MP, John McDonnell MP, Anne McLaughlin MP, Ian Mearns MP, Navendu Mishra MP, Grahame Morris MP, Sarah Olney MP, Kate Osamor MP, Kate Osborne MP, Virendra Sharma MP, Tommy Sheppard MP, Andy Slaughter MP, Jamie Stone MP, Zarah Sultana MP, Sam Tarry MP, Alison Thewliss MP , Stephen Timms MP, Claudia Webbe MP, Dr Philippa Whitford MP, Mick Whitley MP, Nadia Whittome MP, Beth Winter MP.
For further information about this press release, please contact Ollie Collard, Communications Officer, Office of Bell Ribeiro-Addy MP at firstname.lastname@example.org