Henry Smith MP, Crawley Bulletin, July 2016
In the weeks since my last bulletin, we have seen the EU referendum, the resignation of David Cameron, and the appointment of Theresa May as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom.
When a Prime Minister leaves office, much is made of what their legacy will be. One programme that stands out for me is David Cameron’s creation of National Citizen Service; which continues to be delivered for 15-17 year olds in Crawley.
I attended the inaugural meeting of the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Southern Railway, and was confirmed as its Secretary. There are many issues including this one where MPs from differing sides do work together. I will continue to hold Government, operator and unions to account on behalf of Crawley passengers, and I have already met with the new Rail Minister.
APPG on Blood Cancer: Pleased to set up the APPG on Blood Cancer. There are 230,000 people in the UK living with blood cancers, and I am chairing this Group to help raise awareness of such diseases, and the importance of support for patients and their families.
Govia Thameslink Railway: After the EU referendum Westminster is an interesting place right now, however I am focusing on issues such as the ongoing disruption endured by Crawley passengers as a result of the rail operator and the trade unions.
The Cancer Drugs Fund and Blood Cancer: Raised concerns in Parliament with the then-Health Minister about changes to the Cancer Drugs Fund affecting blood cancer patients and the treatments available.
The Defence of our Free Country: Why I support the renewal of the United Kingdom’s Trident independent nuclear deterrent.
Listen to your Lungs: Met with the British Lung Foundation to back their lung health awareness campaign. The online ‘breath test’ is an easy way of checking your lung health – it’ll either give you peace of mind or help manage breathlessness.
Rail services: Wrote to the House of Commons Transport Select Committee to pass on correspondence from Crawley commuters, ahead of GTR and RMT executives being questioned by MPs as part of their Improving the Rail Passenger Experience inquiry.
First World War centenary: Calling on Crawley community groups to apply for Heritage Lottery Fund grants to explore, conserve and share local heritage of the First World War.
EU referendum: Welcomed the referendum result confirming that a majority of voters in Crawley and throughout the United Kingdom supported Leaving the European Union. While the UK will be leaving the EU, we remain friends with our partners and allies across the Channel.
Rail Minister: Raised Southern and Thameslink disruption with the new Rail Minister at Three Bridges Station, on one of his first visits in his new role.
Chagos Islands: Extremely disappointed that the Supreme Court ruled against the right of return for the Chagossian people to the British Indian Ocean Territory. As Vice Chair of the Chagos APPG, the campaign continues.
Earlier Cancer Diagnosis: Wrote to the Chief Clinical Officer of the Crawley Clinical Commissioning Group. While over 65 per cent of people in Crawley live for a year or more after a cancer diagnosis, it is important that more is done to ensure this rate is higher.
Rhythmix: Supported social welfare project Rhythmix, who provide opportunities for children, young adults and elderly people with dementia to enjoy free music sessions in Crawley, to win £3,000 and be crowned the Best Arts Project in the 2016 National Lottery Awards.
OnSite Support: Delighted to open the new innovation hub at OnSite Support in Three Bridges.
Southern Rail APPG: At the Group’s inaugural meeting I was confirmed as its Secretary – myself and other local MPs will continue to hold operator and unions to account.
While the House of Commons is now in recess, I am still on hand to assist.
Please do not hesitate to let me know if I may be able to help; either by contacting me at the House of Commons, London, SW1A 0AA, calling my office on 01293 934554, or via email directly at: email@example.com
To keep up to date with my various activities in Crawley and up in Westminster, please follow me via:
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With my best wishes, as ever