Following a recent tragic incident in Hartlepool, Jill Mortimer MP has made a series of harmful comments about people seeking safety in the House of Commons and in the media. In response, the Hartlepool Asylum Seekers and Refugees Group , Sanctuary Rangers FC, Tees Valley of Sanctuary and Asylum Matters have convened the below open letter making clear that her divisive comments do not represent the community in Hartlepool.
Dear Jill Mortimer MP,
Re: Recent Incident in Hartlepool
We write to you as constituents and organisations supporting people seeking safety in Hartlepool. We are deeply saddened by the recent death of Mr Carney, and our thoughts are with his family and friends. We also wish the second man injured in the incident a full and speedy recovery.
At this tragic time, our town deserves leadership that seeks to unite, rather than divide our community. Your comments during Prime Minister’s Questions on 18th October were instead intended to cause fear and division.
Your use of untrue, harmful stereotypes about people who are seeking safety was shameful and dangerous. You know, as well as we do, that every person has the right to seek protection from war and persecution. Your decision to use this tragic incident for political gain is a disservice to the people of Hartlepool.
You say that you are standing up for Hartlepudlians. We are clear that your divisive rhetoric does not represent us and does not serve our community. Every day, people across our town from many different backgrounds go out of their way to support each other. We are proud that Hartlepool is a compassionate, caring place, and we urge you to act in this spirit.
As our MP, you have a responsibility to everyone in our community. Your actions and comments over the past week have failed all of us. We call on you to retract your harmful comments and to support the many groups and people across the town who are working to make Hartlepool safe and welcoming for everyone.
Peter Gowland, Trustee, Asylum Seekers and Refugees Group
Mamoud Nyelenkeh, Manager, Sanctuary Rangers FC
Satti Collins, Chair, Tees Valley of Sanctuary
Jennifer Laws, Campaigns Manager North East, Asylum Matters
Anna Lewis, CEO, Open Door North East
Pete Widlinski, Chair, Mary Thompson Fund
Kath Sainsbury, Trustee, Mary Thompson Fund
Susan Atkinson, Trustee, Hartlepool Foodbank
Ian Henderson, Secretary, Hartlepool Men’s Shed
Keith Gorton, Secretary, Hartlepool Global Peace & Justice
Emilie de Bruijn, Chair, Hartlepool Baby Bank
Helen Laws, Treasurer, Hartlepool Food Network
Ian Thompson, Deacon, West View Baptist Church Leadership
Catherine Thompson, Minister, Church of the Nazarene
Rev Beverly Hollings, Superintendent Minister, Hartlepool Methodist Churches, Castle Eden Methodist Circuit
Michael Piercy , lay member of Hartlepool Church, steward and supporter of newcomers
Karen Kelly, Resident
Penny Thompson, Resident
Hannah Thompson, Resident
Nicolas Clennett, Resident
Margaret Humberston, Resident
Paul Humberston, Resident