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Henry Smith MP: NHS Scaremongering over trade bill is appalling

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This week the House of Commons voted on the Trade Bill. This legislation is a continuity Bill, and cannot be used to implement new free trade agreements.

Indeed, it is designed to enable those free trade agreements that the EU had signed with other countries before the UK left to be transitioned.

Our NHS is already protected by specific exceptions and reservations in these trade agreements. Some 20 continuity agreements have already been signed, retaining all of these protections for the NHS.

Sadly, but predictably, some have sought to frighten people with cynical fake news into believing those MPs, like me, who supported this Bill voted to sell our NHS to foreign companies, that is simply not the case. Such scare tactics when it comes to our NHS, especially during a global pandemic, are appalling and those involved in misinformation should be ashamed of themselves.

Anyway, international treaties cannot themselves amend domestic legislation and any changes required as a result of trade agreements would be subject to the separate scrutiny and approval of Parliament.

Some of the amendments to the Bill were laid with little other intention than to prompt parliamentary debate on a topic. Unfortunately, the scope of some amendments has been wilfully misinterpreted by some, as is often the case with opposition amendments.

The Government has made an absolute commitment that our NHS will not be on the table in any future trade agreements to which Britain is party.

This was clear in the manifesto which I, and every single other Conservative MP, was elected on at last December’s General Election.

Also earlier this week I met with the Health & Social Care Secretary where we discussed promising developments in securing a COVID-19 vaccine, support for cancer patients and an above inflation pay rise for National Health Service clinicians.

The facts are that record high levels of NHS investment are being made by this Government with some 6,000 extra doctors and 12,000 additional nurses recently recruited.

Henry Smith MP
Crawley Constituency

Henry Smith

Henry Smith MP: Poppy Appeal 2020

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In his article this week, Crawley MP Henry Smith looks to raise awareness of the importance of continuing support for the Royal British Legion:

Throughout the course of this year we have seen so many aspects of day-to-day life affected by COVID-19, with few being more poignant than the Royal British Legion’s Poppy Appeal.

With the pandemic impacting some of the more traditional and familiar ways we remember, I am keen to raise awareness of how we can continue to support the Royal British Legion in a safe and socially distant manner.

  • Poppies in the Post: The Royal British Legion’s website allows you to request 20 poppies free of charge, which can be distributed to friends and neighbours. Many of the volunteers who usually distribute more than 40 million poppies annually are unable to do so this year, so we are being asked to step in to support the Armed Forces community and ensure their contribution to our country is not forgotten. Please remember to make a donation to the Royal British Legion after requesting your poppies.
  • Printable Poppy: Unfortunately, large scale gatherings at the Cenotaph in London, at memorials across Crawley and around the country to pay our respects will be restricted to a smaller number of representatives. The Royal British Legion have therefore launched the Printable Poppy – an A4 poster which can be displayed at home, perhaps in the front window – for us to show our support.
  • My Poppy Run: A further consequence of COVID-19 are the changes to the My Poppy Run events which are usually held in October and November. Due to social distancing, these are taking place virtually, with participants being able to run, jog or walk while raising money.
  • Visit the local supermarket: The Royal British Legion have confirmed that supermarkets including Sainsbury’s, Tesco, Morrisons, Aldi and Asda, in addition to online retailers such as Amazon and eBay, as well as Lloyds Bank and Santander are supporting the 2020 Poppy Appeal. Each location has a number of cashless donation options, and Morrisons and Sainsbury’s offer customers an option to add a donation to their shopping bill.
  • Poppy Shop: With products ranging from poppy pins and jewellery, to clothing, stationery and homeware, 100 per cent of profits from the Poppy Shop go towards the Royal British Legion’s work to support the Armed Forces community.
  • Donate online or by text: The Legion’s website allows supporters to make a donation online, or by sending a text message to donate £2, £5 or £10.

While the ways our country reflects and remembers will undoubtedly feel different, the message remains the same. The sense of duty of all in the Armed Forces community will never be forgotten.

Henry Smith MP
Crawley Constituency

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