Senior Conservative and Labour figures in Crawley on general election campaign trail

Left: Henry Smith and Home Secretary Priti Patel speaking to a member of the public; right Peter Lamb and Shadow Brexit Secretary Keir Starmer
Left: Henry Smith and Home Secretary Priti Patel speaking to a member of the public; right Peter Lamb and Shadow Brexit Secretary Keir Starmer

Senior figures from both the Conservative and Labour parties have been in Crawley campaigning in the past week.

Keir Starmer, Shadow Brexit Secretary, visited the town last Friday to launch Labour’s manifesto for the South East.

Meanwhile Home Secretary Priti Patel and Sussex Police and Crime Commissioner Katy Bourne were in Crawley earlier this week to discuss the Conservatives’ pledge to recruit 20,000 new police officers.

Speaking about the South East manifesto, Peter Lamb, Labour’s candidate for Crawley, said: “This region by region focus is exactly what Britain needs to rebuild after years of Conservative austerity.

“The poor levels of growth, low pay, and in-work poverty here in the South East are simply unacceptable.

“When work is no longer a certain route out of poverty and public services are at breaking point it is clearly time for real change.

“This manifesto sets out Labour’s priorities for the South East. They will kick start a green industrial revolution to tackle the climate crisis while creating 110,000 good jobs for local people.

“Only Labour will rebuild our public services so that once again they are the best and most extensive in the world.

“Like Labour’s national manifesto these plans are all costed. They will be paid for by creating a fairer taxation system in which those with the broadest shoulders pay a little more and everyone pays what they owe. We need a South East for the many, not the few. This is the plan to make that happen.”

Henry Smith, the Conservative candidate for Crawley, said: “Over the last five years officer numbers in Crawley have remained stable, and among the issues we discussed on the doorsteps today was Boris Johnson’s work to recruit 20,000 new police officers. Sussex is to receive an extra 379, with 129 in the first phase alone.

“The new officers who will now be recruited are a real boost to our law enforcement capacity across the town, and will provide greater public reassurance. They’ll take violent criminals off the streets and protect us and our country.

“The message I’ve received from the doorstep is that these are the priorities that Crawley residents want the Government to focus on – not spending next year under Labour with more referendums and division.”

Previously Mr Lamb has criticised the Government’s record on law enforcement and suggested cuts by the Conservatives had led to a ‘wave of crime and anti-social behaviour in Crawley’s town centre and neighbourhoods’.

Meanwhile Khalil Yousuf, the Lib Dem candidate for Crawley, has welcomed his party’s commitment to scrap business rates and replace them with a commercial landowner levy in order to support high streets.

He said: “Many retailers and small businesses in Crawley are under pressure from economic uncertainty, the rise of online retail and the burden of business rates.

“Yet this Conservative government is failing to get to grips with the crisis facing our high streets. Time and again they have promised reviews of business rates but have failed to take action.

“The Liberal Democrats will shift the tax burden from tenants to landlords, so we can breathe new life back into our high streets. We will stop Brexit and build a brighter future, giving local businesses the certainty and support they need to thrive.”

Iain Dickson for the Green Party is the fourth candidate standing in the constituency.