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‘Terrorists wish to divide us. We must ensure they fail.’ says Crawley Lib Dem candidate

Khalil Yousuf, Liberal Democrat Parliamentary Candidate for Crawley has written an open letter following the terrorist attack in London.

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The horrific terror attack in London on Friday 29 November has cast a dark shadow on us all.  The victims who gave their lives, the families and friends who have lost their loved ones, the heroic members of the public and valiant emergency services who battled hatred and violence to save more innocent lives are shining examples of what it means to be British. I grieve with them all and condemn this atrocity and others that have come before it in the strongest possible terms.

Some might have you believe that Britishness is defined by our race, our religion or belief or our background. It is not.  It is defined by our values, of tolerance, respect, unity, liberty, equality, democracy and the rule of law. These are at the heart of what it means to be British.

Hate is a disease.  It has no religion, no foundation, no justification.  It is criminality of the highest order which at its root seeks to deceitfully create division between cultures and communities across the country and across this town, at any cost. 

Over the coming days, you will hear calls for unity.  But you might also hear an unpleasant sometimes politically driven rhetoric which fans the flames of hatred as it seeks to divide communities (including in Crawley) and elsewhere for political ends.  When you see it or hear it, I ask you to reject it.

If we allow ourselves to be divided, to point the blame of one person’s criminality at the door of a community, a culture or a religion, we hand victory to the terrorists because it is precisely the destruction of our way of life that they seek to achieve. They want to change us, to anger and divide otherwise peaceful and harmonious communities and to use that very anger they create to justify more terror. We must not let them succeed.  We must immunise ourselves from the politics of hate and fear wherever it comes from. Our anger must be directed at guilty criminals not innocent communities and instead of allowing us to become divided, we must come together as a united nation, stronger and more unified than ever.

As a mark of respect for the victims, families, friends and all those who have been affected by this terror attack, the Liberal Democrats in Crawley did not campaign on Saturday 30 November 2019.

I ask everyone to join me in condemning extremism, terrorism and the politics of hate in every form and from every source.  The strength and unity of our town and indeed our nation depends on it.

Khalil Yousuf
Liberal Democrat Parliamentary Candidate, 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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