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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: Kickstarting the recovery

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As the challenges of COVID-19 continue to be addressed, the scale of the response across the nation needs to have long-lasting effects.

The Kickstart scheme launches this week to widen job opportunities for young people and I urge employers in Crawley to sign up.

Participating firms will be able to offer young people between 16 and 24 years of age who are claiming Universal Credit a six-month work placement that is fully funded by the Government.

The scheme will see Government pay all of the young persons’ age-relevant National Minimum Wage, National Insurance and pension contributions for 25 hours a week, which the employer can top up if they chose to.

Companies will also be paid £1,500 for each young person they take on as part of the initiative, to support training or other associated costs.

Kickstart is a vital part of the Government’s Plan for Jobs and I hope local employers will participate.

Young people are more likely to have been furloughed than the population as a whole, and we cannot allow them to be left behind as a result of the pandemic.

Creating jobs and helping young people develop the skills to access them is essential. Interested employers can find out more information via: www.gov.uk/kickstart

Henry Smith MP
Crawley Constituency

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