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

Constituency Newsletter – 19th April 2024

Apr 19, 2024 | News

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Bell’s Newsletter

19th April 2024

Dear *|FNAME|*,

This week, Rishi Sunak declared his intention to pare back state support for disabled people and those with mental health conditions: those “feeling a little bit depressed” as he condescendingly put it. From December 2022-2023, the number of people receiving Universal Credit for a health condition or disability in Streatham grew by 555. Rising numbers are not the result of youth idleness or a snowflake mental health culture, as the Tories are desperate to tell us. They are primarily the result of NHS waiting lists trebling since the Tories took office and their failure to expand our limited public mental healthcare provision to cope with a mental health crisis.

People who require physical and mental healthcare to get back to work are not receiving it. The rising number of claimants also reflects the increased socioeconomic pressure facing people in the grip of a cost-of-living crisis, who face rising rents, mortgages, energy, childcare, food, and other basics. But the Tories are desperate to blame anyone but themselves for the situation we’re in and push ahead with deeper cuts so they’re hitting the scapegoat button again.

Voting against Rwanda Deportations

The government’s Bill to force its Rwanda Deportation Scheme through the courts was back before MPs this week for consideration of amendments from the House of Lords. I voted for several amendments that would have upheld international law, checked whether Rwanda complies with treaty obligations, and stopped victims of modern slavery being deported – among other things.

The number of legal protections this legislation seeks to demolish only emphasises that what is being proposed is a form of state-sanctioned people trafficking. Treating people who have fled conflict, persecution and poverty in this way brings shame on our country. That is before we get into the likely expense involved in such plans, which come in at around ÂŁ150,000 per deportee.

The biggest beneficiaries of these plans are the Tory Party, who need scapegoats for the country’s problems, and the outsourcing companies who stand to make millions from Home Office contracts. It’s not too late to drop these cruel and costly plans and devise a fairer asylum system centred on compassion, solidarity and human rights.

Pushing for Peace in Gaza

PSC Rally outside Parliament (17th April 2024)

The war in Gaza has now entered its sixth month. On Wednesday evening, I spoke at a PSC rally outside Parliament to urge our government to stop arming Israel and start calling for a ceasefire. 1,200 people were killed in Hamas’s attack on October 7th last year. In the first six months of this conflict, we have seen this number of Palestinians being killed every single week. We are long past the point where this onslaught can be justified as self-defence.

I joined Palestine Solidarity UK, War on Want, Campaign Against Arms Trade and several of my colleagues to hand in a petition to Downing Street, urging the government to stop UK arms sales to Israel. 67,000+ people signed this petition, demanding an end to our country’s complicity in the death and suffering of Palestinians. We must be completely and unequivocally sure that our weapons are not involved in any military action that may be in breach of international law.

Remembering the Brixton Nail Bombings 25 Years On

A message written on the hoarding of the Ritzy cinema: 17-24-30 Brixton Remembers 25 years on Love is stronger than hate.

This week, our community commemorated the 25th anniversary of the Brixton nail bombings. On the 17th April 2024, the first of three explosions took place on Electric Avenue, blowing out windows, blasting nearby cars and injuring some 48 people. Brixton was targeted because it was (and remains) a diverse community with a large Black population. The neo-Nazi terrorist who conducted these bombings said he wanted to “start a racial war”.

The two subsequent bombings saw the Asian community in Brick Lane and the LGBTQ+ community in Soho targeted, with four people losing their lives in the latter explosion. The aim of terror incidents like these is always to divide communities and strike fear into people’s hearts for simply being who they are. As we remember those killed and injured in these blasts, we must remember the threat still posed by the far right and that the only way to combat it is with cross-community solidarity.

Autism Awareness and Acceptance Exhibition

Bell admires the art work at the exhibition. There is a painting of a girl in a purple shirt and a boy that is shirtless wearing blue shorts. The room is dimly lit.

I was pleased to be invited by the GUBA (Grow, Unite, Build, Africa) foundation to a special preview of their Autism Awareness and Acceptance Exhibition. The exhibition celebrated the talent of autistic artists and challenged stigma associated with the condition, including in the Black community. I was especially proud to see the work of the headline artist Ama Amponsah who is only 11 years old with so much talent and has a bright future ahead.

Hope for Justice Conference: Transforming our Approach to Policing

Bell sits and listens to former Met Police Superintendent Leroy Logan, who addresses a room full of people. Two people sit either side of Bell.

I was glad to be invited to speak the Hope for Justice conference hosted at Bloomsbury Baptist Church last weekend. The focus of the conference was reforming and transforming the police and criminal justice system. The conference examined this issue through the lens of the Black community but also through a Christian perspective. It is no secret that our criminal justice system disproportionately targets and negatively impacts members of the Black community. Black people are over-represented in prison populations and racially profiled by police. Years of calling for change has led to limited impact, which is why we need to keep advancing conversations such as these. I will continue to fight and campaign for justice and equity in our police and justice system.

Visiting Carers’ Common Room

Bell stands with two women in front of a Carers' Common Room banner

It was lovely to pay a visit to Carers’ Common Room on Friday afternoon, a prototype space for care workers to use between visits to clients. It is a comfy and relaxing environment where care workers can eat, drink, relax, and, crucially, come together. Care work is not just undervalued and underpaid in our society, it can also be isolating. Carers’ Common Room also offers opportunities for their mostly women workforce to upskill, gain knowledge and enjoy themselves. It is clear how much work and care has gone into creating this community. I hope it can continue beyond this month, when it closes its doors in International House.

Celebrating 200 years of Trinity Almshouses

Bell stands holding the Behind Blue Doors Exhibition book in Lambeth Archives. Around her on the walls are pictures and accompanying stories about the people who live there.

For 200 years, Trinity Home Almshouses has provided shelter, community and respite to people in our area. It was a pleasure to join Thursday evening’s bicentenary celebrations as they launched an exhibition celebrating this work at the newly opened  Lambeth Archives. Thank you to the photographer, Jim Grover, for putting on an amazing exhibition and for the copy of the exhibition book. Behind the Blue Doors can be seen in the exhibition gallery of the newly opened Lambeth Archives in Brixton until 1 June.

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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