Election 2019 in Streatham
One thing is certain about the 12 December’s General Election; Streatham will be getting a new MP, so we’ve been meeting the main Party Parliamentary Candidates to find out a bit more about them on a personal level.
Bell Ribeiro-Addy. Labour
Streatham resident Bell grew up in a council house in Brixton in an extended Ghanaian family. Her mother ran a nursery and education was a top priority. A keen reader Bell excelled at school and credits and exceptional teacher for her to winning an Assisted Place at Streatham and Clapham High School. She studied Biomedical Science with Ethics at the University of Bradford but encountered levels of racism in the city she had not experienced growing up in south London. She became Race Relations Officer at the Student Union then the NUS National Black Students’ Officer for the NUS after doing a Master’s in Medical Law and Ethics at Queen Mary, University of London.
After several roles with the Labour Party, Bell is Chief of Staff to Diane Abbott. As a left-wing candidate, her selection was not universally popular with the local Labour Party, but she intends to be a unifier, trying to heal rifts with a personal approach. Transport is a key priority, as Streatham’s trains are overcrowded and unreliable and the High Rd. does not feel safe and healthy for active transport like cycling or walking. Bell is committed to lobbying for major infrastructure investment for Streatham. She also believes Lambeth could improve the outcomes of its property deals to help tackle the shortage of affordable housing. Youth crime is another top priority, and Bell advocates the Public Health approach pioneered in Glasgow. This involves multiple agencies trying to understand and address its causes, responding to incidents and working towards the long-term rehabilitation of perpetrators
Top Streatham favourites for Bell are Streatham’s Kite Day plus El Chico’s and Talay Thai, and she used to party at the White Lion and the old Mint Bar (now ExhibitB).
Helen Thompson, Liberal Democrats
Helen was born in Lambeth then moved to Hampshire with her parents and two sisters. Her degree was in English Literature at Cardiff University, then a Master’s in International Relations at the Diplomatic Academy of Vienna. She joined the Civil Service in the International Development Office. Overseas postings included Kabul where she helped supervise the first democratic elections in Afghanistan after the war and worked to empower women and girls. Helen left the Civil Service in 2016 to work for a humanitarian charity supporting refugees around the world and joined the Liberal Democrats where she has their team in Streatham to success in the May European Elections. Helen’s priorities are defending our institutions – Parliament and the Judiciary – and she is in favour of reforming the House of Lords and the voting system.
After a commitment to fight to stop Brexit, Helen’s top priorities for Streatham include air quality and climate change. She is opposed to the expansion of Heathrow Airport and advocates transport infrastructure improvements, better active transport options, Playstreets, and low traffic neighbourhoods. She would also campaign for the Crossrail2 route to come to Streatham. Youth Services are another priority, including providing professional youth workers and safe spaces for young people as part of a Public Health approach to knife and gun crime.
As a local resident, Helen loves the sense of community and neighbourliness of Streatham. “There is a warmth and friendliness. People feel they belong here.” Her top local venues are Streatham Common, where she goes running. She loves Streatham’s independent coffee shops and places to eat and drink, so it’s no surprise that Streatham Food Festival every June is one of her favourite local events.
Rory O’Broin, Conservative
Rory, a lawyer at AIG, is a Conservative Councillor in his home area, Wandsworth. He has been discovering Streatham via his brother, who lives here, and through his work supporting Streatham Conservatives this summer. His family came from Ireland to Oxfordshire in the 80s, where he attended an international school before going to Durham University to study Law. Rory moved to London to complete his legal training and has lived in South London ever since. He has a seven-year-old daughter and three-year-old son and is a governor at a Primary School in Clapham.
Rory sees the Conservative Party as representing aspiration and opportunity. Social mobility for all is something is passionate about; the UK is among the worst of the 37 OECD nations for income mobility, according to a report published by the Sutton Trust.
Supporting small businesses and the high street are priorities as Rory cites vibrant high streets as the foundation of strong and supportive local communities. He helped establish the Clapham Junction Business Improvement District and is currently involved in creating one in Tooting.
Youth crime is another priority, again using the Public Health approach plus more policing and tougher sentencing. He thinks Stop and Search can be an effective tool, but too often it is carried out in ways that are aggressive and appear targeted and racist.
Climate change and protecting the environment are also crucially important to him, and he is committed to taking action to achieve carbon neutrality targets.
Although still learning about the charms of our four wards, Rory is a fan of Brickwood Café and their excellent ham and cheese toasties, and the vast range and long opening hours of Westbury’s Chemist, plus, of course, our beautiful Streatham and Tooting Commons.
Scott Ainslie MEP, Green Party
Scott, a Lambeth Councillor since 2014, was elected MEP for London earlier this year and will stand down as MEP if elected.
Scott and his sister were brought up in a council flat in Edinburgh by their single mum. He was “sporty not academic” at school but discovered reading at high school. A “wonderful teacher” helped nurture this and discovered he could sing, which led to starring roles in school productions like My Fair Lady and Fiddler on the Roof.
Scott went to Edinburgh Napier University to do Business Studies, spending a year at National Cash Registers in Ealing, where he got involved in student theatre. After university, he went to drama school, Mountview, and became a professional actor. Early success (horror movie Zombie Diaries for example) allowed him to buy a home in Streatham where he’s lived for over 20 years and has a son and daughter at local schools.
Scott was briefly a member of the Labour Party, but in 2009 The Age of Stupid, a documentary about global warming was shown The Streatham Festival. It sparked him to campaign on environmental issues, and he and the late Bridged Hall set up Sustainable Streatham. He eventually joined Jonathan Bartley promoting the Green Party in St Leonard’s Ward, where he is proud of his work to save The Glebe sheltered housing.