Accident and emergency hospital services should be returned to Crawley, according to one of the Labour parliamentary candidates.
Marina Ahmad, who grew up in Southgate and went to Thomas Bennett Community College, is hoping to contest the next general election as Labour’s Parliamentary candidate.
She is a community development worker facilitating parenting classes for families in challenging situations, having also previously worked as a child literacy worker in Bangladesh.
Ms Ahmad, who trained as a barrister, stood as a parliamentary candidate in Beckenham in 2015, and contested the 2016 Greater London Assembly elections.
Four others have already announced they are standing: Nona Buckley-Irvine, Crawley Constituency Labour Party’s agent for June’s general election; Dan Dobson, a Labour Party activist and trade unionist; Michael Jones, a Crawley Borough and West Sussex county councillor; and Peter Lamb, leader of the borough council.
The town elected a Labour MP from 1997-2010 but since then Conservative Henry Smith has represented Crawley in Parliament.
Ms Ahmad’s father Kabir Ahmad, was the owner of the then landmark, Taj Mahal restaurant in the High Street until retiring in 2004.
She and her husband, who is a GP and worked at Crawley Hospital, have two daughters.
She said: “Councils must be enabled to start building homes again. Housing and infrastructure capacity go hand in hand, I will work with town planners for the best solutions in Crawley.
“When I speak to Crawley residents, they still want an A&E department in Crawley. Putting aside the politics, I want to look at this issue again. I grew up with my local A&E department in Crawley Hospital, people want it, it’s needed.”
Ms Ahmad added: “As a working mum, I genuinely know how hard it can be. Finding affordable, quality childcare, balancing budgets, juggling work and family needs and school and extra curricular activities.
“School mums regard me as ‘one of us’ and vote for me because they know I understand their concerns and frustration. Crawley parents are angry over affordable childcare, schools funding cuts and the crisis in schools places.”
She also called for more resources for young people and a focus on growing the local economy.