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 – 2nd February 2024

Feb 2, 2024 | News

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Bell’s Newsletter

2nd February 2024

Dear *|FNAME|*,

Our community was left understandably shaken on Wednesday night in a horrific incident of violence against women, which saw a woman, her two young children, and those who came to their aid doused with a corrosive alkaline substance. The five police officers and four members of the public caught up in the attack have thankfully been discharged from hospital. I am incredibly grateful for their brave intervention in an incredibly scary and dangerous situation, which has left a woman with potentially life-changing injuries. I am relieved to hear that her children’s injuries are now not considered to be life-changing and know the whole community is hoping for everyone’s swift recovery.

Police have named the suspected perpetrator of the attack as Abdul Shokoor Ezedi, who remains at large and has connections to the Northeast of England. The latest confirmed sighting of the suspect took place at exactly 9pm at King’s Cross. Ezedi has sustained distinctive injuries to the right side of his face. Members of the public are advised not to approach him if they spot him and to call 999 instead.

I have been working with police, local councillors, and the local authority in the aftermath of this shocking incident to reassure the community. It is very important not to speculate on this case. However, people will be understandably concerned to hear that the suspect only received a suspended sentence for previous sexual offences, including indecent exposure. This highlights the longstanding minimisation of violence against women and girls within our criminal justice system and wider society, which is something that must absolutely be addressed.

In Parliament

  • The Third Reading of the Media Bill took place on Tuesday. I voted for a cross-party amendment which sought to maintain Section 40 of the Crime and Courts Act 2013. This never-activated clause was designed in the wake of the Leveson Inquiry to incentivise papers to sign up to a genuinely independent regulator with teeth and level the playing field between publishers and victims of press abuse. It would mean news publishers pay both sides’ costs if they are sued. It is in the public interest for this law to be implemented, not scrapped.

  • I voted against the government’s Strategy and Policy Statement for the Electoral Commission on Wednesday. This is the equivalent of giving one team the power to tell the referee how to enforce the rules. We need an independent body to oversee elections, free from political interference. With the Tories interfering with the Electoral Commission, raising spending caps so wealthy donors can throw more money at the next election, letting rich expats vote, and disenfranchising millions with mandatory photo ID, it’s clear they know they can’t win the next election, so they’re trying to rig it instead, or at least limit the damage.

  • It was great to join the final session of the APPG for Race and Community’s climate inquiry. We heard compelling oral evidence on climate solutions, reparations, and what better, more inclusive, intersectional policy for racial and climate justice could look like.

Petition Hand-In: Save Clapham Common Post Office

Bell stands outside 10 Downing Street with Florence Eshalomi MP, local councillors, CWU members, and other campaigners.

On Tuesday afternoon, I joined Florence Eshalomi MP, local Labour councillors David Robson (Clapham Town) and Alison Inglis-Jones (Clapham Common & Abbeville), CWU members, and local campaigners including Radio X’s Johnny Vaughan to hand in a petition to Save Clapham Common Post Office. This was signed by thousands of local residents in recognition of the vital services this busy Crown branch provides to our community, helping hundreds of people who are disabled, can’t use technology, can’t read English, or need to collect benefits every single week.

I was very frustrated to hear the Post Office confirm the closure of this branch just hours after our petition hand-in, ignoring the overwhelming local objections to these plans. This isn’t over. The community is coming together next weekend to call on the government to step in and save our Post Office. We cannot let our services be another casualty of the Horizon Scandal as company executives scrabble around for quick cash after paying themselves massive bonuses. The government must step in and stop this.

Caring for Black Hair: Cancer-Related Hair Loss

Bell speaks from behind a table in a green parliamentary committee room.

It was an honour to host my constituent, Lorna Jones, in Parliament on Tuesday evening to talk about the amazing work she is doing with Black cancer patients in our community. With financial backing from Macmillan Cancer Support, Lorna has launched the first trichology-led cancer hair loss service in the UK, C & Hair, which provides guidance to those affected by cancer-related hair loss. We were joined by panellists who discussed a range of issues: from how hairdressers and stylists can approach conversations about Afro hair loss to the impact of cancer treatments on Black skin and Black hair.

Black Maternal Health APPG Meeting

15 women stand in a parliamentary committee room around a curved table with a green surface. They include healthcare professionals, APPG Chair Bell Ribeiro-Addy, and Black maternal healthcare campaigners.

I was glad to host and chair a parliamentary meeting for the APPG for Black Maternal Health this week. This meeting brought together campaigners, healthcare professionals and local government officials to discuss progress on tackling racial health disparities in UK maternity care. We heard about new NHS frameworks to harness anti-racism principles to drive clinical transformation, discussed Southwark Council’s maternal inequality commission, and heard from pregnancy and baby charities about efforts to improve access to mental health support.  

Having an APPG dedicated to this issue is an important bridge between policymakers and campaigners, which has already helped to push this issue up the agenda and secure concrete commitments from the current government and a future Labour one. With Black mothers still almost four times more likely to die in pregnancy and childbirth, there is still so much work to do. The colour of a mother’s skin should not negatively impact her health outcomes.

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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