Jeremy Corbyn’s election as Labour leader could scupper plans for Heathrow 3rd runway
The election of Jeremy Corbyn as leader of the Labour Party could scupper plans for a 3rd Heathrow runway, as he has now declared his opposition to it. The three other Labour contenders, Andy Burnham, Yvette Cooper and Liz Kendall, all support the plan to expand Heathrow. Jeremy Corbyn appears most likely to win the leadership contest. If the Conservative party needs to get a Heathrow runway approved in Parliament, he may need Labour to be behind it. When the Airports Commission issued their final report on 1st July, Labour supported a Heathrow runway and wanted a quick decision by the Government to get on with it. But now Mr Corbyn said: “A third runway at Heathrow would mean 4,000 homes demolished and 10,000 people displaced. It would cause massive increases in noise and air pollution and inflict misery on hundreds of thousands of Londoners. UK air pollution is already above EU limits, and 30,000 people are dying every year because of it”. He wants better transport links to airports, betteru se of existing capacity, and more even spread to the regions. Of the London Mayoral candidates, Tessa Jowell, Gareth Thomas and David Lammy back Heathrow, and Sadiq Khan, Christian Wolmar and Diane Abbott are against.
Labour today confirmed they will back Heathrow expansion – but the party are not completely united on the issue.
Today the Airports Commission, also known as the Davies Commission, has recommended that a third runway should be built at Heathrow. It was thought the Commission might leave room for expansion to take place at Gatwick. However after three years of investigation, the Commission has concluded that it is “clear and unanimous” that Heathrow is the best place for a new runway to be built. Only if noise and air pollution conditions are met.
Labour have decided to back this expansion. Michael Dugher, Shadow Transport Secretary, is thought to personally be in support of the runway. Before the party officially declared their position at PMQs this lunchtime, Dugher said:
“Labour has always been clear that more airport capacity is vital to Britain’s economic success and we need action if we are to maintain our status as Europe’s most important aviation hub.
“We will scrutinise the Airports Commission’s final report carefully. If the recommendation can meet a number of tests, including consistency with our climate change obligations, we will take a swift decision to back Sir Howard Davies’ proposals.”
On a similar note, Labour MP Louise Ellman, who chair of the transport select committee, said she strongly supported the Commission’s recommendations:
“Sir Howard’s findings echo those of the committee I chaired in the last parliament, when we concluded that a third runway at Heathrow was necessary for the UK to maintain its status as an international aviation hub.
“A new runway at Heathrow would also help to meet the current capacity shortfall, and provide a much-needed opportunity to improve connectivity from airports across the regions and nations of the UK.”
Harriet Harman confirmed Labour’s support for a third runway at PMQs today, telling Cameron that if he were to bring forward legislation supporting the Davies Report’s findings, Labour would vote in favour. Cameron said the Government would come to a decision by the end of the year. The PM face pressure from current London Mayor Boris Johnson and the likely Tory candidate for the job in 2016, Zac Goldsmith, to oppose a third runway.
However, Labour, like the Conservatives, are divided over the issue. London Mayoral candidates Diane Abbott, Sadiq Khan and Christian Wolmar (who is also a transport expert) are all opposed to expansion.
Khan, former shadow justice secretary, came out against a third runway recently despite having previously backed the proposition. The MP for Tooting has argued that expansion should be ruled out on the grounds of “awful air quality”, noise and inadequate infrastructure. Of all the candidates in the race (excluding Wolmar, who has never been an MP) Abbott is the only one who voted against a third runway at Heathrow under Gordon Brown.
Not all mayoral candidates are anti-expansion; Gareth Thomas has declared his support for a third runway.He argued: “I think Londoners support airport expansion and understands the number of jobs it can bring to the area. There is a vociferous minority opposing expansion, but I am not sure they representative of what most Londoners think .”
Tessa Jowell is thought to be in favour of expansion but has previously said she was waiting for the publication of the Davies Commission until she declared her official position. She has yet to make a statement on this. Similarly David Lammy has offered his tentative support for the proposals
London Mayoral candidates:
Labour Mayoral candidate David Lammy backs Heathrow 3rd runway, as “good for London and good for Londoners” http://labourlist.org/2015/07/labour-back-heathrow-expansion-but-the-party-are-divided-over-the-issue/ …
London Mayoral candidate, Tessa Jowell backs Heathrow runway, and wants a speedy decision – but knows H3R unpopular http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/tessa-jowells-support-of-heathrow-expansion-means-she-cant-win-london-mayor-contest-say-opponents-10337657.html …
Labour candidate for Mayor of London Sadiq Khan:”I will do everything I can to stop Heathrow expansion” 1.7.2015 https://shar.es/1sSFDI
Labour mayoral candidate Diane Abbott, against Heathrow runway. Has been for some time. http://www.politics.co.uk/blogs/2015/06/16/labour-mayoral-hopefuls-clash-over-heathrow …
Diane for London @DianeforLondon
#LondonSelects “one of the most important things to cut air pollution in London is to stop the building of a 3rd runway” @HackneyAbbott