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Council Leader clashes with Crawley MP over votes on N.Ireland’s abortion & same sex marriage

Crawley Borough Council Leader and Labour Parliamentary candidate, Cllr Peter Lamb, has clashed with Crawley MP Henry Smith after revealing that the towns MP did not vote on enabling access to abortion and same sex marriage in Northern Ireland.

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Only last week the House of Commons passed passed the measure, providing women in Northern Ireland with the right to access an abortion and same-sex Northern Irish couples the right to marry for the first time.

But in a press release the Council Leader says that in both cases, Crawley’s MP failed to cast a vote.

Commenting on Mr Smith’s absences, Cllr Lamb said:

“This was an opportunity for all decent men and women in Parliament to stand up and be counted. Unfortunately, when the time came Crawley’s MP was nowhere to be found, leaving residents wondering just how far women and the LGBT community can rely upon Mr Smith to defend their basic rights.

But Mr Smith has hit back saying:

“I didn’t vote against those measures but absented myself from these votes as they are matters for the people of Northern Ireland to decide and should not be dictated by Westminster. To overrule devolved issues risks the Good Friday Agreement.

The first couple of votes would have mandated same sex marriage and abortion in Northern Ireland. I think Northern Ireland should have a referendum on these matters.

Later in the evening I voted on measures to encourage Northern Ireland to change the law in line with the rest of the uk but without mandating them.

The vote which took place on 9th July saw MPs voted 383 to 73 to legalise same-sex marriage and by 332 to 99 to legalise abortion.

Henry Smith

Henry Smith MP: It was a happy 72nd Birthday for the NHS as hundreds more doctors & nurses come to the south east

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The weekend saw the 72nd anniversary of the founding of the National Health Service. Unquestionably an important date in the story of our country; the people who work in our health and care system are some of the very best our nation has to offer.

It is with this in mind that I welcome the news that there are over 820 more doctors and over 2,200 more nurses in the south east of England compared to last year, with some 6,000 more doctors and 12,000 more nurses nationally.

Whether you are one of these new members of staff, you have worked in the sector for some time previously, or if you are one of the healthcare professionals who returned as part of the response to COVID-19; we appreciate your dedication and we thank you.

It is right that NHS staff with COVID-19 symptoms are tested as a priority, with regular testing of asymptomatic staff in situations where there is an incident or outbreak, in addition to regular surveillance testing across staff. This approach has been decided by clinical experts, including the Chief Medical Officer; with the Government continuing to review clinical evidence to ensure that regular testing of staff without symptoms is undertaken where appropriate.

My thanks to Crawley and Sussex NHS staff for the briefings I have received on their work during the pandemic. Since March, Crawley Hospital has been upgraded with 28 extra beds that are now operational for patient care, with the number of 999/111 call staff locally being significantly increased.

Over £14 billion has been provided for the NHS and public services during the pandemic to increase critical care capacity, provide staff with the equipment they need, and to ensure those on the frontline are supported.

Henry Smith MP
Crawley Constituency

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