I have received hundreds of emails about the BLM movement, exports to the USA, the BAME community in the UK and the curriculum.
The brutal death of George Floyd has rightly horrified people all over the world. The scenes of brutality are harrowing, and there can be no doubt that his death was tragic and unlawful. Justice must be done quickly to help bring some peace to Mr Floyd’s family.
Regrettably this is one more appalling incident in a long series of similar tragedies. There is understandable anger and a desire to protest peacefully at injustice and discrimination.
The right to peaceful protest is a fundamental political right and must be defended and respected. I profoundly disagree with the President’s reaction which will have only raised tensions instead of attempting to forge a sense of reconciliation and national unity.
I know the Government takes its export control responsibilities very seriously. Indeed, the UK operates one of the world’s most robust and transparent export control regimes. Each export licence application is considered on a case-by-case basis against the Consolidated EU and National Arms Export Licensing Criteria. The Consolidated Criteria provide a thorough risk assessment framework, requiring the Government to think very carefully about the possible impact of providing equipment and its capabilities. My understanding is that the Government will not grant an export licence if doing so would be inconsistent with the criteria. I have ensured Ministers are aware of the points you make about these exports.
We should not believe we are immune and the events in the US should lead us to examine injustices in our own country. The Government has commissioned a report into the disparities in the risk and outcomes from COVID-19 in BAME communities. I have written to the Prime Minister and Secretary of State for Health to say I hope to see a full government response to this report with clear steps to mitigate this heightened risk both in the short and long term.
In the wake of the report, PHE been commissioned to carry out further work to better understand the key drivers of the disparities identified in the initial report and the relationships between the different risk factors. PHE has been engaging with a significant number of individuals and organisations within the BAME community over the past couple of months to hear their views. I am told that this engagement will be built on.
I have also been contacted about the tragic death of Belly Mujinga and you can read the statement from the British Transport Police here. I can confirm I have written to the British Transport Police about their investigation and to GTR and the Department of Transport about the provision of PPE to railway staff.
I have always been proud to represent such a diverse constituency as Wimbledon - a place where people from all over the world call home and all major religions are represented. Racism in all its forms is vile and disgusting. We must all work together, globally and locally here in Merton, to wipe it out.
In that spirit, alongside the local police and Merton Council, we are highlighting information on getting advice and support on hate crime: https://www.merton.gov.uk/communities-and-neighbourhoods/crime-prevention-and-community-safety/hate-crime
Finally, in relation to the campaign to include black history in the school curriculum, I have written to the Secretary of State and await his response.