Harriet Harman

Labour Member of Parliament for Camberwell & Peckham

Ebola - My letters to the Government - 7/8/14

Camberwell and Peckham has the largest West African diaspora community in the country.  My constituents will be very concerned about the recent outbreak of Ebola in Sierra Leone, Liberia, Guinea and Nigeria.  Many will be worried about family members and close friends in their country of origin and will want to know that the UK Government is doing everything it can to help the affected countries. 

I have written to the Foreign Secretary, Philip Hammond, and the Secretary of State of International Development, Justine Greening, to outline my constituents' concerns and ensure the Government is providing support for important healthcare services in countries dealing with the outbreak.

My letter to the Foreign Secretary -

Rt. Hon. Philip Hammond MP
Foreign & Commonwealth Office
King Charles Street
London, SW1A 2AH

31st July 2014

Dear Philip,

Re: Ebola outbreak in West Africa

I am writing to you about the recent Ebola outbreak in West Africa.  I welcome the Government’s response so far to the situation and the decision to hold a Cobra meeting on Wednesday 30th July.

This is a concern for the West African Diaspora in my constituency.  Many people in Camberwell and Peckham who are from the countries affected – Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea – have family members there and some have business links to their country of origin and they will be concerned about the situation and arrangements in terms of travelling to the region.

People will also be concerned about how this may affect plans for family members who intend to visit the UK and will be unsure about potential travel restrictions should the situation worsen.  And others who are from West Africa are more generally concerned about what is happening.

None of my constituents have contacted me yet on the Ebola outbreak, but I am concerned that they soon will.  They need assurances that everything is being done to address their concerns.

At Wednesday’s Cobra meeting was there any discussion about briefing MPs with constituents from the countries affected?  And was there any discussion about liaising with Diaspora communities from the countries affected? 

I would find it very useful if you could brief MPs representing West African communities on this.  Would it be possible to arrange a conference call so you can brief me and the other MPs concerned?

I look forward to receiving your reply.

Yours sincerely,

Rt. Hon. Harriet Harman QC MP

My letter to the Secretary of State for International Development -

Rt. Hon. Justine Greening MP
Department for International Development
22 Whitehall

7th August 2014

Dear Justine,

Re: Ebola outbreak in West Africa

I’m writing to you about the Ebola outbreak in West Africa.  As you may know, my constituency has the largest diaspora community from that part of Africa and in particular from Sierra Leone, Guinea, Liberia and Nigeria.

I know the UK funds, through DFID, many very vital healthcare projects in these countries.  Indeed I have visited many of them myself and know the good work they do.  But clearly the scale of this Ebola problem is going to place even greater demands on the healthcare services.

Could you please let me know what the response of DFID is to provide extra help in these difficult circumstances?

I know my constituents would want us to do everything we can to help their countries of origin where many of them still have close family and friends.

I look forward to hearing from you.

Yours sincerely,

Rt. Hon. Harriet Harman QC MP


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