Reviewing 2018

To mark the last Crawley Observer of 2018 I have been reflecting on the previous twelve months.

With under 100 days until the UK leaves the European Union, Brexit has been an issue I have continued to hold the Government to account over. I have told the Prime Minister that I cannot support her current proposals without change.

As I write, the precise dates for the House of Commons debate on Theresa May’s Brexit deal with the EU have not been officially confirmed; as soon as this happens I will be writing to the Speaker to ask for time to contribute.

There are, of course, many other issues which I am spending time on. Earlier this year I became Chairman of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Heart & Circulatory Disease. In this role I work closely with organisations such as the British Heart Foundation; the Group sees MPs work with health experts, patients and charities to improve health outcomes for people living with heart and circulatory diseases in this country.

The APPG is undertaking an inquiry on the impact of artificial intelligence technologies on heart and circulatory disease patients. The Group is listening to patients, policy makers and industry representatives to hear perspectives on the opportunities and challenges of using AI in healthcare.

At this time of year, our thanks go to those who will be serving in our armed forces and public services over the festive period. A few months ago I was pleased to support the Assaults on Emergency Workers (Offences) Bill.

This legislation doubles maximum sentences for assault against members of our emergency services from six to 12 months in prison. It was brought in to protect the protectors, such as our police, paramedics, fire service personnel, prison and custody officers as well as search and rescue staff.

Additionally, it instructs the courts to consider the strongest penalties for other offences including grievous bodily harm and sexual assault against emergency workers.

Over Christmas we particularly think of our hardworking public servants; my thanks to them and best wishes to all in Crawley for a Happy New Year.

Henry Smith MP