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My Black History Month Debate in Parliament

Black History Month is an important moment of reflection each year when we celebrate the great achievements of Black Britons. Therefore, this year I was pleased to host a debate in Parliament – the first Black History Month debate in two years – see links below to see what was said.

As you may know, the theme of Black History Month 2023 has been “Saluting our sisters”. In my speech, I was delighted to highlight several Black Britons, and especially Black British women, who for too long have been under-recognised in our national conversation.

You are welcome to read my full speech on the UK Parliament’s website here.

You can also watch my speech here.

Finally, while this is an essential annual event in the UK and worldwide, I spoke about how we must commit to talking about Black history all year round. I thank everyone who celebrated this year and all those continuing to fight for positive change.

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Abena appointed Shadow Minister for Women’s Health and Mental Health

I hope you will be pleased to know that I have recently accepted the position of Shadow Minister for Women’s Health and Mental Health. This is such an important role and these are issues that I’m really passionate about.

My main role as a Shadow Minister is scrutiny. I am committed to ensuring that the government is held accountable in legislative procedures and in ministerial conduct. This might include exploring government policy, finding its faults, and critiquing it. That being said, as an opposition minister I am part of a government in waiting. This means that I must ensure that Labour is ready for government in case of electoral victory, and ready to deliver our mission to build an NHS Fit for the Future.

I am pleased to say that Labour is committed to getting waiting lists down and getting people treated on time. We have a 10-year plan for change and modernisation and this will include one of the biggest expansions of the NHS workforce in history. But more than that, we plan to put individual care and mental health treatment at the heart of our mission. An issue that has for too long been in the shadows.

With Labour, more care will be delivered on your doorstep, out of the hospital and in the community. We will focus on prevention and a move towards transformational new technologies.

In my new role, I will be working with various charities and stakeholders, listening to experts in Women’s Health and Mental Health, and considering how Labour will do things differently. However, I will also be speaking to those working in our health and care sectors and the patients receiving care.

I’d love to see Women’s Health and Mental Health services transformed into something that the British people can be truly proud of. I want everybody to receive the support that they deserve, delivered as quickly and efficiently as possible.

It is Labour who has the plan and the mission to build a NHS Fit for the Future and there for you when you need it. I encourage you to take a quick look at Labour’s plans for health services, which you can read here: Building an NHS fit for the future.