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Henry Smith

Henry Smith: Taking pride in our community

In his article today Crawley MP Henry Smith talks about with election day the town should take pride in its community.

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Our town goes to the polls today – Thursday 2nd May. Unusually for Crawley, every seat on the Borough Council is up for election, giving us the chance to change the future direction of our community.

As I go across town, in addition to the issues raised with me by concerned residents, I have seen for myself that the Borough Council’s current leadership have failed to keep Crawley clean and tidy. Sending out press releases on the subject is no substitute for issuing fines for littering.

Hard-working Crawley Conservative councillors will take pride in our community, and will ensure action against such anti-social behaviour.

Figures released this week show that over 700 Crawley families have been able to realise their dream of home ownership thanks to the Government’s Help to Buy ISA and equity loan initiatives.

This is a contrast to Labour’s record, such as the £1.4 million from the sale of council houses which was meant to be spent on new homes in Crawley but actually wasn’t.

The Council’s leadership have also gone over budget on a botched IT project. Conservative councillors will not lose sight of the fact that Council funds are actually the hard-earned money of local taxpayers.

A vote for local Conservative candidates on Thursday is a vote for a better Crawley.

Henry Smith

Henry Smith MP: Armed Forces Day 2020

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This year, Armed Forces Day falls on Saturday 27th June, with the Armed Forces Day flag being raised the previous Monday across the nation, including at Crawley Town Hall.

The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the role of the armed forces at home as well as abroad.

Around the country there are more than 100 mobile testing units which are operated by the armed forces. These provide testing where it is needed, enabling key workers and their households to be tested, with results within 48 hours.

I am particularly grateful to the 7 Rifles Reservist soldiers, who are based at Gatwick Airport and operate testing units around West Sussex. Our town appreciates your work, and the part you are playing in ensuring life can return to a semblance of normality.

It is important, however, that we show our gratitude not only on Armed Forces Day, but all year round.

One of the freedoms which our armed forces stand for is the freedom of protest. This does not, it should be said, extend to having permission to vandalise memorials to the fallen.

I am supporting the Desecration of War Memorials Bill which not only designates a specific offence relating to unlawful damage to a war memorial, but would also see an exemption of damage to war memorials from the existing £5,000 damages threshold, see a maximum fine replaced with an unlimited fine, as well as a maximum custodial sentence of 10 years.

It would, of course, be up to the judiciary to decide on sentences for each individual case. This Bill would remove some of the barriers to ensuring justice in such a scenario.

Henry Smith MP
Crawley Constituency

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