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Henry Smith: Why supporting NCS is so important

In his article this week Crawley MP Henry Smith talks about the important work of NCS and the community.

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We’ve all taken immense pride in watching one of Crawley’s own, Gareth Southgate, lead the England football team to the World Cup semi-final for the first time in 28 years. He now stands alongside Sir Alf Ramsey and Sir Bobby Robson in leading England this far in the tournament, as the nation looks forward to the final stages of the next European Championships being played at Wembley in 2020.

Crawley is rightly proud of Gareth and it would be fitting for a lasting tribute in our town to recognise his work.

A few days before Gareth was appointed permanent England manager in November 2016, I was at a National Citizen Service graduation ceremony in Crawley. We don’t know what our town’s next generation will go on to achieve, but those taking part in NCS have much to offer.

NCS is open to 15 to 17-year-olds and is delivered locally by the Crawley Town Community Foundation. It gives young people the chance to take part in new experiences, develop skills and give back to our community.

Last year I was pleased to speak in Parliament in support of legislation which strengthens the Government’s commitment to NCS, and I was delighted to present a copy of the National Citizen Service Act to the Community Foundation after it became law.

In addition to allowing participants to gain experience of working alone and as part of a team – skills which will help when seeking employment, apprenticeship or university placements in the years ahead – NCS also sees young people undertake social action projects to benefit the local community.

Charities which have benefited as a result of local NCS participation include Crawley Open House, the Springboard Project, St Catherine’s Hospice, the Olive Tree Cancer Support Centre and Save the Children.

NCS is designed to encourage personal and social development through a range of activities and projects requiring leadership, teamwork and communication.

The summer 2018 programme is on course to see the most participants ever – I wish them all the very best! Applications are still open; for more information please visit: www.ctcommunityfoundation.com/ncs

Henry Smith MP
Crawley Constituency

Henry Smith

Crawley MP Henry Smith condemns Brexit uncertainty

Henry Smith MP has spoken out against the uncertainty and democratic damage of Brexit not being delivered and in Parliament last week called for the instruction given by the people of Crawley and the UK to leave the EU not to be delayed beyond 29th March 2019.

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Speaking in the House Of Commons on Friday 15th Feb, Mr Smith partook in a debate and made his strong feeling very clear.

Here are some of the highlights of what he said:

“It’s been three years since the Brexit referendum was called. With exit day of 29th March only weeks away, I urge the Prime Minister to take a robust approach to the continued negotiations with the EU.

“One of the biggest reasons for the current uncertainty is the continued calls for another vote of the people. Crawley residents – and indeed voters across the UK – have already spoken clearly and it’s up to the Government to carry out their will.

“The previous day I asked Theresa May at Prime Minister’s Questions for assurances over our departure on the date set out in law of 29th March 2019 – the people’s Brexit must not be denied.”

He then followed it up about Crawley itself:

“The message I get is as follows. Just the other day, I was walking down Tilgate shopping parade in my constituency, and as is typically the case, someone came up to me and wanted to know about the current Brexit debate in Parliament.

“They said, “Why aren’t we getting on with the decision we made two and a half years ago?” That is a compelling argument.”

Mr Smith continued on the subject of Brexit uncertainty and the countries relationship with Europe:

“We have heard this afternoon calls for a so-called people’s vote. I would argue that we had a people’s vote in 2016. We have also heard calls for an extension of article 50, to delay our departure from the European Union.

“We have heard from those Members concern about the uncertainty of Brexit. The one thing that will maintain uncertainty is questioning the democratic decision that was taken by holding a second referendum.

“That would certainly do a lot to damage our democracy and prolong uncertainty, as would a delay to article 50, and that is before we even get into the issues of whether the remaining 27 members of the EU would allow article 50 to be extended and, if article 50 were to be extended beyond July, of EU elections.”

“Yes, we absolutely should be seeking and honouring a deep and close relationship with our neighbours and allies in Europe, but the trouble with a customs union, which Labour Members advocate, is that it would prevent us from doing the global free trade deals that, in a world that is getting smaller, are key to our prosperity.

“The key to this country’s future prosperity is our unique global links, and being a conduit for that thanks to our proximity to Europe. We must be robust in the ongoing negotiations, and I support the Prime Minister in continuing them.

“I have never known an EU negotiation that did not go down to the last moment, and I therefore remain optimistic about our future. For goodness’ sake, we should be more optimistic as a House and country, because our best years are ahead.” r

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