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‘I have never been so offended in all my life’ says councillor after Crawley leader calls opposition ‘not good people’

The general election may be over but local politics are not about to slow down for the Christmas period.

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It was a busy Full Council last night for the councillors of Crawley and no sooner had the past weeks of canvassing ended when the bickering between the locally elected was to start up yet again.

But rather than the motions carried making the headlines it was a comment made by the Labour leader Peter Lamb which has caused upset.

According to Maidenbower Councillor Jennifer Millar-Smith, Mr Lamb referred to the conservative councillors as ‘not good people’.

In a letter to CN24 Cllr Millar-Smith says:

“In all my years as a councillor (2004 – 2012 and again since May 2019) I have never felt so shocked and frankly very hurt by an opposing political party as I was at last night’s full council. 

The Leader of Crawley Borough Council Peter Lamb saying, in full council, to the Conservative councillors that we “are not good people” during the Budget strategy amendment debate was the most outrageous and hurtful thing I have encountered in my political career. 

This is during a debate where we wanted to amend the budget strategy to include a review of the 15 year old policy on parade rents.

It is a major issue at the moment so should be reviewed – because it is a real and current issue.  To criticise opposition policy is one thing we can all expect in politics. 

But as Leader of the council to say to your opposition colleagues en masse that we are not good people is an outrage.  Myself and my colleagues do our best for our wards the same as any elected person. 

We also do much for our town, our neighbours and friends every day, quietly and personally, the same as most of us in Crawley do. We are all of us good people regardless of political persuasion. 

It was insulting to myself and my Conservative colleagues as people generally, and as members of our town who have stood as councillors to try and help our community.

Frankly it was an insult to the people of Crawley who elected us.”

In response Crawley Council Leader Peter Lamb said:

“It was a phrase used in the heat of a debate and was not intended to be a reflection of any individual.”

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Crawley College to reopen following incident

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Crawley College will be beginning a phased reopening to students from tomorrow, Thursday 29 April.

The phased reopening will take place between tomorrow and Tuesday 4 May with full details by courses provided on the college website www.crawley.ac.uk . Students should check details before returning to campus.

The campus has remained closed for the past two days following police investigations into the incident that took place at the college on Monday (26 April).

Vicki Illingworth, Principal of Crawley College, said:

“We are looking forward to welcoming our students and staff back to the college.

“We’d like to reassure everyone, the college is safe and they will be well supported in their return to the campus.

“Sussex Police have confirmed that this is being treated as an isolated incident which is not terror related and nobody else is being sought in connection with the incident.  The individual concerned is in police custody and has been charged.”

“We are now focussed on ensuring we can bring students and staff safely back on site. We’re proud of the service we provide to our students to give them opportunities in education and training.

“I can reassure everyone that this was a one-off incident and we have strategies in place to keep everyone as safe as possible, as well as giving the students the support they need to come back and join us to complete their studies successfully.”

Vicki also echoed her earlier comments, paying tribute to the staff who supported students who were on site during the events of Monday afternoon.

She added:

“I continue to remain full of admiration of our team. They pulled together on Monday and implemented all of the protocols we have in place to keep students safe.

“They’ve continued to work together to support each other and their students over the past couple of days – and they will continue to do so when students return to campus.

“We are also particularly proud of the two members of staff who acted so bravely and swiftly to apprehend the individual before the police arrived. They acted selflessly to protect their students and the college community. They have asked for privacy during this time.

“It was a very intense time for everyone involved.

“The students who were kept inside the college and who were part of the emergency evacuation were supported throughout by our staff and counselling services have been available to them this week. These services will continue to be in place for them to access.

“We’ve continued to be in touch with our students through our support services to check that they are ok and we will resume face-to-face counselling as soon as we can.”

Work is taking place at the college campus to repair some damage which was sustained during the evacuation and subsequent investigations, with teams working hard to ensure the campus is ready for reopening.

The college would like to thank students, staff, the Police and Emergency Services and the wider community for their ongoing support and understanding.

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