‘The scandal continues to this day’ – Bell Ribeiro-Addy opens up on Windrush work

By Tom Holmes
December 11 2019, 21.00

Streatham’s Labour candidate Bell Ribeiro-Addy opened up on what it was like to work behind the scenes on the Windrush scandal.

Ribeiro-Addy was Shadow Home Secretary Diane Abbott’s chief of staff and political advisor, meaning that she was at the heart of Labour’s response to the scandal.

She met with members of the Windrush generation, as well as helping to draft the legislation that contributed to the eventual resignation of Amber Rudd.

“We knew what was going to happen as early as 2014,” Ribeiro-Addy said.

“Through our casework we could see people were having issues with it.

“We found women who were slipping through the cracks and we had issues trying to bring people back, people with healthcare issues.

“When it really hit home was when people started to die because that’s when the government got nervous and the media started to put it out there.

“We worked hard to keep bringing Amber Rudd back and pick her up on different points and eventually her position became untenable.

“I don’t think in my lifetime I’ve heard a government minister being forced to resign for what has happened to a black community, so that was a big triumph for us.

“But the scandal continues to this day.

“Despite the fact that the Windrush generation were British citizens and should have been treated as such, some people are still being held to unattainable standards to receive that citizenship.

“There are people facing serious healthcare issues, tax-payers who aren’t considered good enough.

“There are so many people who aren’t going to get the compensation they deserve, or any compensation at all.

“There are far too many people who have died already.”

For Ribeiro-Addy, as a black woman in politics, having worked for a black woman in politics for nearly a decade, these are personal issues.

She also spoke about how the level of abuse that Abbott has suffered, and that Ribeiro-Addy herself suffered working for her, influenced her decision to run as an MP in Streatham.

She said: “I don’t think I could run anywhere else other than my home.

“To do something like this, knowing very well the abuse it could get you, you need to be invested in it.

“And I am invested because this place is my home and has been for my whole life and continues to be.”

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