PRIME Minister Boris Johnson laughed after an MP called for a Sussex town to become a city.

Crawley, which has been a town for 75 years, is celebrating this milestone anniversary by bidding to be named a city.

The bid is being backed by Henry Smith, the town's Conservative MP, who raised the matter at Prime Minister's Questions.

Speaking in the House of Commons, he asked the Prime Minister to “look favourably” on the town's attempt to become a city.

However, Mr Johnson did not appear to take the suggestion entirely seriously.

“Crawley constituency was one of the most negatively affected by the Covid-19 pandemic,” Mr Smith said.

The Argus: Prime Minister Boris Johnson (left) and Crawley MP Henry Smith Prime Minister Boris Johnson (left) and Crawley MP Henry Smith

“But thanks to significant support from this government, we are seeing recovery, unemployment now beginning to come down and we look to a confident future.

“In that vein, will my right honourable friend look favourably on Crawley’s platinum jubilee city status bid.”

Crawley has entered the civic honours competition, which forms part of the Queen's platinum jubilee celebrations.

Johnson giggled throughout his response to Mr Smith's question, in which he admitted he was unaware at the town’s bid.

“I wasn’t aware until today that Crawley was bidding to become a city,” he said. “But I will look at it very carefully.

“And I’m sure there is an excellent case in there somewhere.”

The civic honours competition, which is free to enter, will bestow city status on towns in the UK.

It aims to provide towns with the chance to showcase civic pride with the town's heritage and a record of innovation.

A spokesman for the council previously said: "A bid for city status would certainly raise Crawley's profile, enhancing its reputation and ensuring it is a place that is recognised, helping to put Crawley on the map.

"Given the significant economic impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on our town, which is well documented and evidenced, securing city status will bring with it prestige, standing and an opportunity to lever investment to aid our recovery.

"Studies suggest that a successful bid for city status could bring further investment and employment opportunities."

The government will announce the winners of the competition in early 2022.