Racist abuse has made me scared to do my job, says MP

Racist abuse has made me scared to do my job, says MP
Exclusive: Bell Ribeiro-Addy reveals scale of threats received by politicians

A prominent Black MP has described how racist threats against politicians left her scared to do her job.

Bell Ribeiro-Addy, Labour MP for Streatham, said that while working for Diane Abbott she received death threats for the former shadow home secretary to her personal email account

Speaking to BBC 1Xtra podcast If You Don’t Know, she said: “I remember one time somebody actually called the office and they were just shouting the N-word down the phone,” Ms Ribeiro-Addy said.

“They would send monkey cards to Diane with really horrible messages; I remember they set up an email address that looked like hers, cut out a picture of her face and they put it on top of a naked woman’s body then sent it around to every single person in parliament.

“Just harassment, intimidation, violence.”

Ms Ribero-Addy, 36, said although it was a difficult reality to navigate but added: “Diane’s always said ‘If you shy away you’re not gonna make it easy for the next person’.”

When asked about the support that’s available to help, the MP replied: “There’s each other.

“Definitely having more black female MPs means that you have more people to lean on when something like that happens.”

This month Stephen Peddie, a former Brexit Party candidate, was convicted after saying a “bullet to the back of” Labour MP Dawn Butler’s head would be “justified and wholly deserved”.

Ms Butler, who was once attacked on a train in a separate incident which has left her “mentally scarred”, was forced to close her office in Brent, north London, following concerns for her safety.

While discussing discrimination within parliament, Ms Ribero-Addy pointed to an incident in which Black MPs were misnamed on BBC Parliament in 2020.

“If you’re talking about micro aggressions. There was a time not too long ago, you know the captions that come under your name when you’re speaking?, Dawn Butler was speaking and the parliamentary team put Marsha De Cordova’s name (MP For Battersea),” she said.

Ms Ribeiro-Addy became an MP in 2019. Another Labour MP elected at the last general election, Zarah Sultana, has also revealed racist emails. The Coventry South MP was sent an email telling her to “go back to your country” in November.