The Conservative Parliamentary Candidate for Crawley, Henry Smith, has welcomed the party platform ahead of the general election on Thursday 8th June.
Henry backed commitments including measures to support rail passengers and an additional £4 billion for school funding, and claimed victory following his efforts calling for mandatory CCTV in UK slaughterhouses, now a Conservative commitment.
On railways, Henry said;
“Having consistently stood up for Southern train passengers I welcome the Conservative Party Manifesto’s commitments on rail services and ticketing.
“The Conservatives are committing to a review of train ticketing – we all know how complex and perverse some of the pricing structures are. I also welcome the planned introduction of a passenger ombudsman to help stand up for the interests of rail users.
“If re-elected the Conservative Government will work with train companies and staff to agree minimum service levels during periods of industrial dispute, and if this can’t be found voluntarily, legislation will be put forward.
“I’m acutely aware of the problems faced by Southern Railway passengers, including myself, over the last year or so. This is why I’m pleased the Transport Secretary accepted my invitation to come to Three Bridges Station a couple of weeks ago to discuss what more needs to be done to help commuters.
“The Government have already confirmed £300 million to go on engineering upgrades and fixes for Southern and Thameslink routes on the London to Brighton Mainline.
“It’s telling that not long after the House of Commons debate I secured on rail services last September, Jeremy Corbyn’s parliamentary candidate for Crawley actually opposed a Crawley Council motion which called on the RMT union to end their strikes affecting Southern routes.”
On the manifesto commitment to introduce mandatory CCTV in slaughterhouses, Henry said;
“I welcome the Conservative manifesto’s commitment to introduce CCTV in UK slaughterhouses.
“This is an issue I led on in Parliament. Where abattoirs have been monitored it’s highlighted mistreatment of animals and breaking of laws which exist to protect their welfare.
“For the last two years I served as Co-Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Animal Welfare, if re-elected as Crawley MP I’ll continue to work further raising the issue with Government.”
On an additional £4 billion of funding for schools, Henry said;
“I’m well aware of the cost pressures facing our schools and welcome Conservative plans to increase the overall schools budget by £4 billion during the next parliament. This represents more than a real terms increase for every year of the parliament compared to current spending levels.
“The proposed new National Funding Formula sees Crawley schools receive a cash boost of £5.7 million, an increase of 8.4 per cent in funding – making Crawley the second highest gaining area out of any part of the country. This is an issue I’ll continue to pursue alongside West Sussex MP colleagues if I’m re-elected to serve our town in Parliament.”
On exiting the European Union, Henry said;
“Only Theresa May has the strength to deliver the best possible Brexit deal in the upcoming negotiations with the European Union – which begin just 11 days after the general election.
“If this is left to Jeremy Corbyn and Diane Abbott it would be a shambles. They’d make a complete mess of the negotiations because they don't respect the majority decision of Crawley and the British people to leave the EU. It’s ordinary working families who would pay the price with more debt, higher taxes, fewer jobs and a less secure future.
“With Gatwick Airport in our borough boundary we need to get this right. Flights from Gatwick not only connect us to friends in Europe but to a whole host of destinations from emerging Asian markets to North American cities.
“This epitomises the reason why the people of Crawley voted to leave the European Union – to expand our horizons across the world while maintaining a good relationship with the EU.”
“In recent days, Jeremy Corbyn and Diane Abbott have spent more time discussing their history with the IRA than doing anything which would benefit Crawley or the UK.
“In contrast, Theresa May as our Prime Minister has been discussing matters of security with our NATO and G7 allies.
“Three quarters of Labour MPs don’t think Jeremy Corbyn should even lead their party – how can they now put him forward to be our Prime Minister?
“Local A&E and maternity services were closed under Labour, but recent times have seen health facilities returning to Crawley Hospital. Earlier in the year, it saw the opening of a new Clinical Assessment Unit and the 26 bed Piper Ward, while the Urgent Care Centre is open 24 hours, all year round.
“A little under a year ago I set up and was elected to chair the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Blood Cancer, raising awareness of the condition and highlighting the needs of patients and their families.
“I’ve stood up for our town’s young people; during the course of the previous parliament I hosted two Crawley Apprenticeship & Jobs Fairs and I’m proud to support the delivery and expansion of National Citizen Service in our town.
“In April I welcomed the further increase in the tax-free personal allowance to £11,500, a move which 56,000 people across Crawley will benefit from. If re-elected the Conservative Government will continue to increase this threshold to £12,500 to ensure working people keep more of what they earn.
“Investment in public services is down to the continued growth of our economy, in recent years the number of local companies has increased by more than 600. Throughout the country the vast majority of the growth in employment has come from permanent employees and three quarters of the rise has been from people in full time positions.
“This election is a choice. On the one hand, we have the chaos of Jeremy Corbyn and his Labour Party who would wreck our economy and leave every generation worse off.
“On the other, we have Theresa May, the Conservatives and myself who will restore the contract between the generations, providing older people with security while ensuring we maintain the promise of opportunity and prosperity for younger generations.”