Bell Ribeiro Addy MP

Streatham MP wants UK apology and reparation for slavery

Streatham MP Bell Ribeiro-Addy has said the UK should apologize for its past of African slavery and commits to reparation.

Ribeiro-Addy addressed Prime Minister Rishi Sunak during her slot on Prime Minister’s Questions today, reflecting that it was 23 years since the passing of former Tottenham MP Bernie Grant.

Grant was the founder of the Africa Reparations Movement and Ribeiro-Addy believed that the country had still not given the apology he asked for in his last PMQs before passing away.

She said: “Since then, Prime Ministers and Heads of State have only ever expressed sorrow and deep regret.

“These are not sentiments that are befitting one of the greatest atrocities in human history.

“So I want to ask the Prime Minister today, if he will do what Bernie Grant asked for all those years ago, what I have asked, what countless others have asked since, and offer a full and meaningful apology for our country’s role in slavery and colonialism and commit to reparatory justice.”

She emphasized that no acknowledgement of the wealth amassed through these means and that the UK took out its largest ever loan to pay off slave owners.

The PM responds to Streatham’s MP

In response, Rishi Sunak explained that efforts should be focused more on building a more inclusive and tolerant society for people of all backgrounds.

“That is something we on this side of the House are committed to doing and will continue to deliver.

“But trying to unpick our history is not the right way forward and not something that we will focus our energies on.”

The UK’s history of slavery and colonialism in Africa dates back to the 16th century and was eventually abolished through the Foreign Slave Trade Act (1806) and the Slave Trade Abolition Act of March 1807.

The loan mentioned by Ribeiro-Addy was a loan of £20million paid as compensation to slave owners, which then was equal to around 40% of the annual Treasury income.

Featured image credit: David Woolfall via license CC BY 3.0

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