The Queen’s Speech was about more than Brexit

The Constituency View with Henry Smith MP SUS-170126-103725001
The Constituency View with Henry Smith MP SUS-170126-103725001

The Queen’s Speech, which was passed by the House of Commons last week will deliver on a range of issues including our exit from the European Union.

I’m acutely aware of course that the Brexit result was about more than just the EU – it was a clear expression that our country doesn’t work the way it should for millions of people throughout the UK.

One of the salient issues in the debate on the Queen’s Speech was pay for NHS staff. While I believe an increase in public sector pay for NHS staff and other key public sector workers is well deserved, the time for this to take place would be during the upcoming Budget where all Government costings can properly be taken into account.

In contrast, the proposed last minute amendment to the Queen’s Speech was simply Labour playing a political game. That is, of course, their right as the Opposition but not the best way to make long term policy commitments.

This week I’m helping reconstitute the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Blood Cancer. In the previous parliament our Group included Conservative, Labour and Democratic Unionist Party MPs, and I’m delighted that in the new session we now have Liberal Democrat representation as well. Cross party working is the norm, not exception, on key areas, so criticism of the DUP supporting the Government is unjust, particularly as Labour under Gordon Brown and Ed Miliband sought their support.

Much has been made of comments I gave to the national press recently regarding school funding; to be clear – they approached me, not the other way round. I stand by my view that it is wholly inappropriate for taxpayer-funded resources being used to influence people’s vote. There is a clear difference between that activity and legitimate lobbying on achieving improved resources for local schools.

I continue to work alongside other West Sussex MPs in pushing for the new National Funding Formula which will see Crawley schools receive the second highest increase nationally after decades of under-investment.