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Opinion

Peter Lamb: votes are in and it’s back to work

In his article this week Leader of Crawley Borough Council Peter Lamb talks post election.

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Well, all the votes are now in and counted and the result for Crawley is: just the same as it was before. For the first time in twenty eight years, not a single seat has changed hands. Meanwhile, the popular vote across Crawley was essentially a draw between Labour and the Conservatives, with majorities shrinking significantly in both Labour and Conservative seats.

Crawley is regarded as a ‘bellwether’ constituency, since at each General Election the town has voted the same way as the country, and given that the British public now appears so totally split down the middle on the most basic questions of our national direction, perhaps this result shouldn’t be surprising.

Maybe, both parties should accept the result with a certain amount of humility and realise we probably haven’t yet made the case clearly enough as to why we believe the things we believe. With all-out elections coming next year, we will certainly have our chance.

In the meantime, it’s back to work. The council now needs to reconstitute itself, welcoming new members and making all the formal appointments for coming year.

As for myself, it has been a case of out of the frying pan and into the fire as the bank holiday weekend has been packed with community events, including another fantastic May Fayre in Ifield, and trying to make my way through the significant backlog of casework and policy which the election put on hold over recent weeks.

Just this morning, the first full day back in the office, I have been in meetings discussing how we can significantly improve the way we work at the council in meeting local residents’ needs and a potentially major development for the Town Centre over the next year. After all, there is more to local government than elections.

Cllr Peter Lamb
Leader, Crawley Borough Council

Opinion

Mayor Carlos Castro: Easing Crawley’s Post-Brexit fears

In his article, the Crawley Mayor talks about an event held in Broadfield to allow ‘many unanswered questions’ to be put forward to officials: providing some Post-Brexit clarity for Crawley’s Portuguese community.

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On July 14th, I had the pleasure to work with the Portuguese Consulate to bring clarity to the Portuguese community living in Crawley and surrounding areas regarding their rights Post Brexit.

There has been a lot of unanswered questions since the referendum from the Community and after taking the Mayor’s Office May 18th, bringing peace of mind to EU nationals was on top of my to do list.

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The Portuguese Consulate Officers were in attendance at the Mayor Making and coincidently they had the same idea in mind. It was that night that we started to make plans on how, where and when we could put this event together.

The event took place at the Broadfield Community Centre at 3pm. We had in attendance over 100 local residents, somehow only Labour Councillors in attendance, and a journalist reporting to the Journal de Noticias (Portuguese newspaper) and it was here that many unanswered questions were given a chance to be put forward to officials.

Sadly, within a couple of hours of this event starting, it became a political target! A Facebook post and later on the Crawley Observer, it stated that this event was being called as a way of scaring EU Nationals, that there was nothing to be afraid and called my efforts playing politics. Since when is putting your residents first a “political gain”! The role of Councillor is to help all constituents and as a human being embrace diversity.

Such statements were not only an insult to the community, but also a disrespect to the work of the Government Officials who came down from London to speak to these residents in aid of clarifying their doubts and worries.

The same way, giving someone a website to visit and fill out a complex application isn’t all that there is to getting “settled status”! Many questions referred to divorced parents, custody matters and which parent can do what, as well as how the Consulate will be or not be able to play a role in helping its Nationals with the process. We also had questions from residents who already have resident status and would they need to apply as well and those who may struggle with the language.

So telling residents that there is nothing to worry about when their own party started this, is absolutely ridiculing those who fear Post Brexit. A better man would have empathy, a better politician would have a better interest in his community.

This event was so well attended and well received by many, I now plan to put together another event where all of EU residents can attend and be offered the same opportunity to be given peace of mind. I urge everyone to share this news with your EU co-workers, neighbours, friends, family to get in touch. Together we can face this beast and keep what I call Post-Brexit fears away.

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