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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.

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EXCLUSIVE: Henry Smith MP thanks Crawley for his re-election

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Speaking exclusively to Crawley News 24, newly re-elected MP Henry Smith has thanked residents of the town for their votes.

Henry also took a moment to answer some questions about the next steps.

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