Being an MP must be a pretty tough job, between all the casework, events, legislation and lobbying on behalf of residents there can’t be enough hours in the day to get everything done.
Certainly there are many Crawley issues which central government should be being lobbied on, from conditions which make it more profitable to leave shops empty than to reduce rents to rules around council by-laws which would enable us to tackle anti-social behaviour more effectively, and then there’s always the hospital.
With all that work to be done I’m rather surprised that Mr Smith has the time to be attacking the council in Parliament over the Local Plan and Town Centre North. Delays around the Local Plan didn’t seem to be a problem for him when the last administration kicked it into the long grass for six months, nor did Town Centre North in the eight years the plan was allowed to die.
Yet an MP who sees signing Early Day Motions supporting local issues as a waste of parliamentary resources suddenly feels it’s worth taking up time to raise these issues in the nation’s legislature.
Still, let’s give him the benefit of the doubt for the moment and assume that he did raise concerns with the last administration behind closed doors. During my time as Council Leader—and before that as Leader of the Opposition—I have never received any communication regarding a local issue, so the first time I find out that our MP has any concerns is when he raises them in Parliament. That’s not exactly the most direct route for communicating with me and gives the impression that this is more about cynical party politics than any genuine concern for the town.
Clearly this isn’t a working relationship that’s going to do Crawley any good. So here’s my offer Henry, how about we actually meet and discuss any concerns you may have and see what can be done to address them? As a resident, there are certainly many local issues which I would like to see you take to central government rather than spending your time sniping in the Commons.
Cllr Peter Lamb
Labour group leader, Crawley Borough Council