Crawley councillor refutes ‘totally flawed’ accusations by town’s MP
A Crawley councillor said he was ‘surprised and disappointed’ after ‘totally flawed’ accusations against him were shared in the House of Commons by the town’s MP.
On Thursday (September 23), Henry Smith shared accusations made against Atif Nawaz (Lab, Three Bridges) which claimed he attacked some one at a community event two years ago.
Speaking to Jacob Rees-Mogg, leader of the House of Commons, Mr Smith went on to say that Mr Nawaz, who was elected in May, had twice failed to appear in court before the Crown Prosecution Service deemed the case to have ‘timed out’.
He added: “Because this was not publicly known, he went on to be selected as a candidate and subsequently elected to Crawley Borough Council in last May’s local elections.
“May we have a debate on why this perpetrator, Atif Nawaz, was able to do that, on why the victim was failed by the Crown Prosecution Service, and on the efficiency of the CPS?”
When asked about Mr Smith’s words, Mr Nawaz said: “Unfortunately, his statement contained a number of serious factual inaccuracies and in reality what has been said is totally flawed.
“I’ll be writing to him personally to say I’m surprised and disappointed that, as Crawley MP, he would use Parliamentary Privilege to shield himself from the legal consequences of making a politically motivated attack without even checking the basic facts.”
Responding to Mr Smith in the Commons, Mr Rees-Mogg said he understood that the CPS had ‘accepted that it made an error in the handling of the case’ and suggested he write to the Attorney General.
Mr Smith said he raised the matter in the Commons because the victim and his family had been ‘let down by the system and that has damaged their faith in justice being served’.
He added: “I have spoken with the victim’s family, and extensively corresponded with Sussex Police, the Crown Prosecution Service and Attorney General’s Office regarding the Atif Nawaz case and so am confident these disturbing reports were accurately reflected when I raised them in Parliament last week.
“Indeed it is a matter of CPS and police records.”