Government aide quits to join rebels on eve of Commons vote on Heathrow expansion
â€¢ Anti-runway lobby seizes chance to register dissent
today against plans to go ahead with the £9bn expansion, which will see the number
of flights increase from 480,000 to about 605,000 a year.
have used parliamentary privilege to table an opposition day debate today.
the government to be defeated.
irrevocably changed by the Heathrow expansion – and the likely scale of any rebellion
will illustrate the fragile nature of the support for the policy.
to oppose the third runway on environmental grounds, said yesterday that he believed
the coalition of Tory, Liberal Democrat and environmentalists’ opposition meant
there was a “very big chance” the third runway at Heathrow would never go ahead.
and on its own backbenches, and despite the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats
positioning themselves against the policy. Though today’s vote is non-binding, it is the first opportunity for those opposed
to the move to register the scale of dissent.
in any opposition day debate had played a part in the decision to expand Heathrow,
with government whips visibly canvassing Labour backbench voting intentions during
the statement made by the transport secretary, Geoff Hoon, on 15 January.
Gordon Brown became prime minister in June 2007, Slaughter, MP for Ealing, Acton and Shepherd’s Bush, told the Guardian: “It’s a quality of life issue – they are effectively building
a new airport with its flight path over my constituents in west London, who are
currently not troubled by aircraft noise. There are other issues, both local and
national. For one, I doubt the surface transport network will cope.”
to push ahead with the third runway, but was persuaded not to by the prime minister,
who personally assured him he would supply the MP with further information on
behalf of his constituents.
targets squeezed concessions from the government, with the eventual package including
an initial cap on additional flights from the new runway at 125,000 a year and
a pledge that any new slots after that point would be “green slots”, allocated
only to airlines which use the newest, least-polluting aircraft. There would also
be a new target that aircraft emissions would be lower in 2050 than in 2005.
to be defeated. Some Labour MPs once opposed to the expansion have been won round
by the government’s eventual package and by personal conversations with the prime
minister and cabinet ministers.
got 40. Three to four Tories will vote against their party but the Ulster Unionists
won’t bother, so the government will not be defeated.”
with the government.
the government today but
bombing” of MPs by Greenpeace. The Labour MP David Taylor protested and the Speaker,
Michael Martin, called it a “serious matter”.
of people are using it as an excuse.”