Leading a debate, chairing meetings, standing up for rail passengers

This has been another busy week in Westminster. In addition to speaking in the House of Commons on Brexit, animal welfare and the ongoing conflict in Yemen, I also chaired cross-party meetings regarding cancer treatments and cardiovascular disease, as well as following up on the service provided to local rail passengers. This column, of course, is just a snapshot of my work over the last few days.

I led a House of Commons debate calling for a ban of foie gras imports to this country. Leaving the EU provides us with a great opportunity to enhance animal welfare provisions.

Foie gras is a product derived from the livers of ducks or geese that have been force-fed maize repeatedly by having a metal tube inserted down their throats two or three times a day when they are just 12 weeks old.

The domestic production of foie gras is already banned in this country because of its cruelty, and I urge the Government to act to stop the double standard of imports still being permitted. On leaving the EU’s single market Britain will have the ability to take this decision for ourselves.

Later in the week I received assurances in the Commons from the Brexit Minister that remaining in a customs union with the EU would not be compatible with having a meaningful and independent trade policy; an issue of real importance to people who voted both Leave and Remain.

I also welcomed confirmation that Crawley unemployment has fallen by 60 per cent – more than 1,500 people – over the last eight years. While wages are rising faster than prices, and the rate of employment nationally is at its highest since comparable records began in the 1970s, there’s more to do to ensure our country is fit for the future.

I am writing this column before the start of the World Cup. My best wishes to Gareth Southgate – who grew up in our town, attended Pound Hill Junior and Hazelwick Schools, and married at Worth Church – and his team. Come on England!

Henry Smith MP